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dlavery
05-06-2004, 06:46 PM
This thread is a spin-off of this discussion (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=261517), 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 two-team alliance format. Like the above thread, this thread is meant to collect creative ideas that can be applied to any game concept.

-dave

Koko Ed
05-06-2004, 06:52 PM
This thread is a spin-off of this discussion (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=261517), 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 two-team alliance format. Like the above thread, this thread is meant to collect creative ideas that can be applied to any game concept.

-dave
I think they should design a 4 on 4 relay race through an obstacle course.
Not sure how to utalize the human player though.

Billfred
05-06-2004, 07:57 PM
I'd personally like to see a couple of things happen in this department.

1) Ensure there's a tiebreaker. It makes things simpler for the audience (especially from the football-heavy south, where there's hardly EVER a tie). The tiebreaker could be anything--distance of your mobile goal from your alliance's wall, as a 2k4 example.

2) Dump ranking points as it was this year. I've seen a lot of matches from a lot of good teams this year, and there just doesn't seem to be an easy way to bring the scores of a weak alliance close without running the very real risk of gift-wrapping them the match. I guess the more radical way to handle it (assuming we've got a scoring system fairly similar to this year in total points) is what I call the 150 rule. If your alliance outscores your opponents by 150 points or more, YOU lose. (Kinda like the breakout rule set at some R/C tracks--go faster than this time, and you're DQ'd.) It still allows for wins and losses, but it forces teams to consciously mix things up.

I'll think of more later.

inwoodraider
05-06-2004, 09:08 PM
Instead of a NCAA tournament finals, have the finals like the little league, double elimination. Let the play countinue without all the alliance picking, and let the best robot win.

George1902
05-06-2004, 09:13 PM
I loved 2004's ranking system.

In future games, though, we shouldn't penalize the winning team for the losing team's transgressions. In 2004, your score was worse when your opponents commited penalties. The winners should get the losers' unpenalized score.

Pat Roche
05-06-2004, 10:22 PM
I loved 2004's ranking system.

In future games, though, we shouldn't penalize the winning team for the losing team's transgressions. In 2004, your score was worse when your opponents commited penalties. The winners should get the losers' unpenalized score.

I also truly loved it too.

I know I am prolly opening a can of worms by saying this but I'd love to see a 3v3 game or better yet a 3v2 game where alliances switch and the point is to limit the opposing alliance to a certian amount of points and then you try to outscore them. And to make things even more odd it changes half way through the match so your alliance has all three on but it may only have two active or three active.


just some ideas.
-Pat

Paul Copioli
05-07-2004, 08:13 AM
Dave, you asked for it. Here comes radical: The requirement for my idea is that there must be an even number of qualifying rounds (6, 8, 10, or 12). Have an offense and a defense, much like football. In the qualifying rounds, you play half of your matches on defense and half of your matches on offense. Your qualifying ranking could be based on a few different methods:

1. Points allowed vs. points scored. Take your points scored * X - points allowed *Y + B. X and Y could both be 1 (I see lots of negative scores) or you could bias a little toward points scored or you could shift the score using B as an adder.

2. You could have a defensive ranking and an offensive ranking combining them to have an overall ranking. Let's say there are 40 teams in your regional and you are 40th in defense and 1st in offense you would get 1 point for being 40th and 40 points for being 1st giving you an average of 20.5. Teams would then be ranked by the combined points. Encourages well roundedness.

3. You could keep the offensive ranking and defensive ranking separate and have the top 4 offenses pick and the top 4 defenses pick during alliance selection (I don't really like that one).

The elimination rounds are where it gets interesting. There would be a minimum of 3 teams per alliance, but 4 would be preferred. You play 4 periods: 2 on offense and 2 on defense. You add up the points you get on offense in each half and that is your score. This focuses the game on one team scoring at a time, not both teams trying to score at opposite ends at the same time. If the score is tied, then we go to overtime and each team gets another crack at offense.

This would really mix up the tournament format. You want radical ... you can't handle radical!

-Paul

MissInformation
05-07-2004, 09:25 AM
I also truly loved it too.

I know I am prolly opening a can of worms by saying this but I'd love to see a 3v3 game or better yet a 3v2 game where alliances switch and the point is to limit the opposing alliance to a certian amount of points and then you try to outscore them. And to make things even more odd it changes half way through the match so your alliance has all three on but it may only have two active or three active.


just some ideas.
-Pat

I mentioned something about an alliance switch in the middle of the game in front of a team member once and they told me they would kill me if I told Dave... One thought was that either you did not know whom your alliance partner was until the end of the match, which would make all robots work together but would take away from competitiveness possibly. But it could be set up that you don't know who your partner will be until the last minute of the game... or something on the field that can be pushed to randomly change alliance partners at any time during the match. It could be pretty evil...

I think it would also be interesting to see a game that can be played completely in autonomous mode, but the teams can take over their controls at any time but points are worth more in autonomous mode.

Heidi

<=========>
I'm your only friend I'm not your only friend But I'm a little glowing friend But really I'm not actually your friend But I am –They Might Be Giants

Mike Ciance
05-07-2004, 09:33 AM
here is a radicl idea for the structure of elimination rounds:

after qualification rounds, take the top [however-many] teams (no alliance picking) and send them into a second series of rounds similar to the qualification rounds. it would be set up so that each possible alliance of robots is used once. then the top 4 are taken to move on.
the team with the most wins from that series of rounds would choose an alliance partner, and the other 2 robots would be arbitrarily paired together. these two alliances would then face-off in a 3-out-of-5 final for the championship.

Andy Grady
05-07-2004, 12:05 PM
This one will bake your noodle, I dont think it gets much more radical than this....

Kit is released, teams have 6 weeks to build a robot to perform the game challenge. Competition begins...the qualification round structure is as follows.

Qualification Round 1: Team A + B vs Team C + D

Team A: Drives Team B's Robot
Team B: Drives Team A's Robot
Team C: Drives Team D's Robot
Team D: Drives Team C's Robot

Ipes! You don't mean? We have to let other people control what we build? Thus deciding our fate?

Oh yes...

Here is why. In many cases in the real world, you have to design product for use by other parties. Doing this in the game would make for teams to not only come up with a solid engineering design, but also ease of control and learnability. It would promote more team interactivity before and during rounds, as well as hopefully promoting teams to reach out to struggling teams in the pit, and help them if they are having issues.

Elimination structure would remain essentially the same...

Top 8 Teams select 2 alliance partners. Best 2 out of 3 in rounds. Robots do the ol' switcharoo once again in each round...with the exception of the final round, where all teams must drive their own robot!

I think the whole selection and elimination would add a very interesting twist. Imagine teams having to not only base selection on the strength of robot, but also on the driver skills and fast learning abilities of teams.

Very evil if you ask me...I kinda like it ;)

-Andy Grady

JVN
05-07-2004, 12:53 PM
Very evil if you ask me...I kinda like it ;)

-Andy Grady
This bring the whole "1 Joystick, or 2 joystick" debate to a whole new level.

Andy, I like it.
What happens when your inexperienced partner smashes your beautifully hand crafted machine into the wall accidently, and breaks something.

Ut-Oh.
Better build em tough, or risk bad blood.

John

Andy Grady
05-07-2004, 01:08 PM
This bring the whole "1 Joystick, or 2 joystick" debate to a whole new level.

Andy, I like it.
What happens when your inexperienced partner smashes your beautifully hand crafted machine into the wall accidently, and breaks something.

Ut-Oh.
Better build em tough, or risk bad blood.

John

Robust, robust, robust...thats the key. Plus I think FIRST could allow for an extra coach on each team to actually be part of the other teams drive crew...just in case something goes wrong with the robot. I dont think bad blood would be any different than that of a team that slams into your robot repeatedly...when they are on your team. ;) Of course, there are all sorts of small logistic things that would need to be worked out for that to work.

-Andy Grady

Karthik
05-07-2004, 01:22 PM
Here's one that I've been kicking around for a while. I know it will never get implemented for a variety of reasons, but it's still fun to think about.

You play the five week regional season as you would in any other season. The only change is that there is a video database of every single match throughout the season, to make scouting much easier. (You'll see why this is so crucial)

After the regional season, all the teams are ranked from 1 to x in an order determined by some accepted method. This would be based not on potential, but sheer performance. eg., A certain amount points for winning an event, your seed, where you got picked, technical awards. There would be some sort of factor that looks "strength of schedule" which could make up for differences amongst the regionals.

A certain cutoff ranking would be determined by the capacity of Nationals, and only teams at this ranking and above would be invited to Nationals. (Exceptions could be made for Chairman's, original teams, etc.)

The Thursday of nationals would proceed normally, and then at 5:00 pm there would be a dinner break. After the break, the largest draft in FIRST history would take place. The top ranked team would go and pick another robot from the entire field, to form an alliance which would last for the entire event. This time instead of the top 8 picking, every team from the top third would get to pick. By the end, the event would consist of a whole bunch of alliances of 3. From here the teams would begin a massive elimination tournament, until only one alliance remains. This tournament could be setup in a variety of ways. There could be a round robin portion to eliminate some of the alliances. We could play best 3 out 5 series, and go double elimination... There are lots of possibilities. The choice would be determined on size and time...

The pros of this setup:
1. Those dream alliances people are always talking about, can actually happen. If this was in place this year, Team 254 would most likely have had the 1st pick, and selects Team 60.

2. The Championship becomes a true championship, with only the best of the best competing.

3. This would be a great setup for TV audiences. If FIRST could get regionals on the air each week, fans could follow teams through the season and into the finals. It would have a real March Madness feel to it.

4. This system eliminates the flukey nature of the ranking system at nationals. With only seven matches, the best teams don't always end up at the top. (Then again, if they don't make it to the top, are they really the best... not this argument again)

4. I can't picture a way to make this event more exciting. I get giddy just thinking about it.

The cons:
1. Way too much emphasis on regional performance.

2. Who makes up the ranking system, and what does it consist of. How do we prevent it from becoming the BCS?

3. How do you account for teams who attend multiple regionals?

4. With the final rankings only being released after the last regional, travel arrangements would be a nightmare.

You guys asked for radical, I gave you radical. :)

Let me know what you think...

Chris Hibner
05-07-2004, 01:58 PM
I LOVE Karthik's idea. However, I would love it even more if they did the following:

- after the 5 week season, the teams are ranked 1 through N (just like Karthik suggested).
- If the championship capacity is X, than the top X/3 teams earn automatic bids to the championship.
- The draft is held immediately after the end of the season (say, one week after the season).
- The teams then each pick 2 partners who will accompany the picking team to the championships.
- It then continues like Karthik suggested - where each alliance stays together.

Now this is radical.

Rob Colatutto
05-07-2004, 01:58 PM
More than 4 robots on the field at a time. No nessesarily all moving though. An alliance in finals plays all 3 teams at the same time but has switches to disable the robots and only two are allowed on a time. 2003 Ex Team A has a ramp dominator and goes up to the ramp, locks into the mesh and shuts down, enabling team C to move around and stack while team B is destroying the other opponents stacks. 2002 Ex Team A starts the match by dashing forward and grabbing all 3 goals and moves into scoring position. Team A disables themselves and turns on robot C who works with B and both fill the goals with balls.

Andrew
05-07-2004, 02:55 PM
Drawback to Current Tournament Structure
In order to control your destiny, teams have to place into the top 8. Otherwise, you have to rely on a very political alliance selection process to get into the eliminations.

Ranking in qualifying is equally strongly affected by alliance pairings as it is by actual performance.

Teams whose performance (for whatever reason) places them at the bottom of the rankings, have to keep playing, without any real hope of making eliminations. This sometimes incentivizes "bottom of the ranking teams" to engage in wanton brutality.

Tournament Structure Idea
Day One ... Qualifying
This would proceed the same way that qualifying currently proceeds. Random pairings. Ranking proceeds with wins/losses, high score, etc.

At the end of day one, the top 24 seeds are passed on to Round Two. Teams must pass a functional test/reinspection. Failing this would remove them from the seeding.

The remaining seeds are done for the competition. If the bottom teams want to spend day two working on their robot, they can do so without match interruption. If they want to go home and save some hotel money, they can do that as well.

This "cut" is the same as in golf.

Day Two ... Seeding
Scores for the top 24 teams are zeroed; however, rankings are retained.

Teams are not paired randomly for seeding matches.

Round One
Seed 1+2 versus Seed 23+24
Seed 3+4 versus Seed 21+22
Seed 5+6 versus Seed 19+20
Seed 7+8 versus Seed 17+18
Seed 9+10 versus Seed 15+16
Seed 11+12 versus Seed 13+14

Round Two
Seed 1+3 versus Seed 22+24
Seed 2+4 versus Seed 21+23
Seed 5+7 versus Seed 18+20
Seed 6+8 versus Seed 17+19
Seed 9+11 versus Seed 14+16
Seed 10+12 versus Seed 13+15

Round Three
Seed 1+7 versus Seed 18+24
Seed 2+8 versus Seed 17+23
Seed 3+9 versus Seed 16+22
Seed 4+10 versus Seed 15+21
Seed 5+11 versus Seed 14+20
Seed 6+12 versus Seed 13+19

Rankings are determined by win/loss or high score total in these three matches.

Day Two Alliance Selection
Alliance selection proceeds with the top eight after the Seeding matches.

Day Two Eliminations
Eliminations proceed as they do right now.


Advantages to this scheme
Teams that are out of contention can focus on going home or preparing for the next competition.

Teams that are contenders can focus on making the top 24, instead of the top eight. You just have to make the cut to be within striking distance.

Teams that are contenders get more matches. Ie there is an instant reward for making the top 24.

Teams are rewarded for making the top eight in qualifying. They potentially have an easier match schedule at the beginning of day two.

Teams that "luck" into the top eight will have to win against a tougher schedule on day two and will probably not remain in the top eight.

Good teams that are "unlucky" on day one can play into the top eight on day two.

Teams in the top 24 have a smaller field to scout after day one and will make better alliance picks on day two. If you are in the top 24 at the end of day one, you know that you will be playing in eliminations and can prepare accordingly.

Day two is deterministic. It can be scheduled more tightly. FIRST can adhere to an agenda, especially vacating the arena on time.

Disadvantages to this scheme
A good team with exceptionally bad luck can be eliminated without making the cut.

This is a disadvantage to the current scheme as well. It is just not as apparent.

Andrew
05-07-2004, 04:17 PM
Another Tournament Structure Idea

Ditch the qualifying, alliance selection, etc entirely.

Maintain the 2v2 format.

Go with a fully deterministic n-loss elimination bracket, where n depends on the number of teams at the tournament.

Start by randomly assigning all teams at the tournament to a position in the opening bracket. Assign byes to each bracket based on the number of teams in the tournament.

The mechanism...
Two teams play against two teams.
The winning alliance moves to the next level in the current bracket, but the alliance members are split.
The losing alliance drops to the next bracket, at the current level of that bracket.

If a team loses n times, it is eliminated.

The winners of the n brackets play into a single elimination tournament to determine the eventual winner. For large numbers of teams, you would have to have fewer than 8 brackets. But, you could terminate the loser's bracket play early. For instance, the winner of the first loser's bracket would be the second seeded alliance and the loser of the first loser's bracket would be the third seeded alliance.

Final alliances are determined "randomly" by how you end up in your bracket. Ie no alliance selections.

Let's say you have 40 teams at an event.

The winners bracket would be 5 levels
40 teams (10 matches)->20 teams (5 matches)->10 teams (2 matches + 2 byes) -> 6 teams (1 match + 2 byes) -> 4 teams (1 match) -> winner 1

The first loser's bracket would be 7 levels
20 teams (5 matches)->20 teams (5 matches)->14 teams (3 matches + 2 byes)->10 teams (2 matches + 2 byes)->8 teams (2 matches)->6 teams (one match + 2 byes)->4 teams (1 match) -> winner 2

The second loser's bracket would be 8 levels
10 teams (2 matches + 2 byes)->6+10 teams (4 matches)->8+6 teams (3 matches + 2 byes)->6+2+4 teams (3 matches)->6+4 teams (2 matches + 2 byes)->4+2+2 teams (2 matches)->4+2 teams (1 match + 2 byes)->4 teams (1 match) -> winner 3

This can be continued into the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh loser's bracket.

Although this looks complicated (and I probably made a mistake or two), it is algorithmic and can be programmed without much effort. The result being, with N teams and n losses (where n is ideally 8), you can figure out how many matches are required, what teams get byes at each level, etc.

If you play the first round, then the first loser's round, then the second loser's round, etc. Then resume with the second round, the second first loser's round, etc., you automatically get the desirable "time between matches" match spacing.

This tournament structure would have two corollary benefits.

The teams which are going to "lose out" would be eliminated fairly early. This would give them time to work on their robots for the next competition or enjoy the rest of this competition. In other words, if you go 0-8, you'll be all done by about 2:00 on the first day, having played in the first round of each bracket.

On the other hand, the suspense for this tournament would build as you approach the winners of the brackets. The top seed would be spat out first, followed by the second seed, etc.

You could even have a team go 4-0 early in the first day, only to lose the winner's bracket final. This team (4-1) could potentially play (and lose) in all of the bracket finals.

Another wrinkle, to retain alliance selection, the eight alliances could pick a third partner for final eliminations. Since neither alliance partner would be "captain" this would require considerable cooperation between the two.

Joe Johnson
05-07-2004, 05:17 PM
More than 4 robots on the field at a time. No nessesarily all moving though. An alliance in finals plays all 3 teams at the same time but has switches to disable the robots and only two are allowed on a time. 2003 Ex Team A has a ramp dominator and goes up to the ramp, locks into the mesh and shuts down, enabling team C to move around and stack while team B is destroying the other opponents stacks. 2002 Ex Team A starts the match by dashing forward and grabbing all 3 goals and moves into scoring position. Team A disables themselves and turns on robot C who works with B and both fill the goals with balls.
Sick and twisted... ...how about this wrinkle: Alliance B can somehow influence which robot on Alliance A is disabled (and vice versa). I don't know what it would be that alliances would have to do to toggle the disabled button on the other alliance, but it DOES open up possibilities.

Think about it: Maybe if you knock off the ball during autonomous, you get the right to disable one robot from the competing alliance at some point during the competition for 10 seconds. Maybe if you cap a goal you get to "unfreeze" one of your partners (and freeze yourself or the 3rd alliance partner).

I don't know if it is good idea, but it sure is different.

Joe J.

Billfred
05-07-2004, 06:58 PM
Actually, as far as I know, all it would take for, a member of 433 (pure example here) to drive our robot this year would be for them to acquire one of our operator badges. Maybe throw in a shirt to keep the eyebrows from being raised.

Although I think there'd have to be some original team control...lest you have teams driving it like they stole it. And wrecking it accordingly.

Ali Ahmed
05-08-2004, 06:54 PM
I think it would be more fun if the random computer alliance selection was a little more random instead of it being where the lower number teams were allied with the higher munber teams.

Astronouth7303
05-08-2004, 08:02 PM
Another Tournament Structure Idea

Ditch the qualifying, alliance selection, etc entirely.

Maintain the 2v2 format.

Go with a fully deterministic n-loss elimination bracket, where n depends on the number of teams at the tournament.
...
Why not do a 8-loss and keep the current champ format? I think it's cool.

Also, how about random bot selection? meaning: you don't know what bot your driving! :yikes:

Documentor
05-10-2004, 04:11 PM
how about this: a seperate division for regional winners.

miketwalker
05-10-2004, 04:35 PM
I like Heidi's idea... I've been playing with something similar to what she said in my head for a long time. It's kind've hard to describe without a game scenario so I'm going to make up a completly hypothetical game scenario just to show my idea. This particular scenario uses a 2 vs 2 vs 2 robot match setup in a circular like field (which I know neither the circle field or 3 sets of 2 robots will probably happen, just easiest to use).

Now, at the beginning of the match you'd have whatever the points are and 3 zones (one for each alliance). The matches would be 3 minutes, at the end of every minute your zones change. In other words, you recieve points at each minute park. This would force teams to get points into a zone and then get them the heck out've there and onto their next zone for the next minute part. This allows for many scenarios too occur, and requires teams to have a good offensive and defensive bot... but would involve more complicated scoring, but would result in alliance partners working together (whereas this year some teams would just go for the bar and the other partner would remain to do the rest... which can work, but there's no cooperation). The only way this could work would be drastically redoing the field and robot setup, but would always keep a consistantly upbeat match being both exciting to viewers... as well as a PAIN when it comes to strategy. Tidbits of this could be incorporated into many of the other drastic changes in this thread already.

But DEFINITLY bring back the time-rush scenario we saw in 2001... although I wasn't around, it is much more exciting to have a time crunch in some way. With robots competing against one another it's highly doubtful they'll all shutoff before the end of the 2 minutes, but if you make something in the scoring happening in time increments, there will be a ton of rushing... but you want to make it dynamic so teams don't completly win a match. If you brought back the boxes from 2003 and mixed them with this zones, yea... that'd be fine and dandy to put all the boxes in this zone... but make teams get them back out (like in the 2003 game, make them have to get the boxes back over to the other side after a minute, but make it simpler to do with fewer obstacles to have more robot interaction). This would encourage teams to try many new strategies (In my mind now, I'm visualizing robots like Team 25's 2000 robot... where in that game they could be dynamic... but if you made it where a arm can't just move things around, it'll create a very strategic game). Just my thoughts. It could be incorporated in several ways. I'd love to see dynamic scoring though.

Andrew
05-14-2004, 09:09 AM
It seems that the point of these threads is to throw out all of those details of FIRST that are being done "because that's how we've always done things" and re-examine even the fundamental structures.

So, (as I don my fire proof garments), ...

Why not remove the restriction that only pre-college students can drive the robot, participate as human player, etc.?

Most of the pre-college students participating on a team undertake roles other than on-field roles anyway. There are 3-4 students participating on-field whereas most teams have 10-30 students. Since 3/30 is a very small fraction of the interaction, does this rule significantly increase participation by pre-college students?

On the other hand, any restrictions on who can be driver guarantees that the best drivers are not out there for every team. If FIRST wants the competition to look better for media purposes, then it should put the best people behind the sticks. I'm not saying that a pre-college student won't be the best driver for some teams, just not for every team.

rachakate
05-15-2004, 06:29 PM
Why not remove the restriction that only pre-college students can drive the robot, participate as human player, etc.?

I'm going to go the exact opposite way and say, let's make the coach have to be a student too.

TF8
05-16-2004, 10:52 AM
I think it would be more fun if the random computer alliance selection was a little more random instead of it being where the lower number teams were allied with the higher munber teams.

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Andrew
05-18-2004, 11:43 AM
I'm presuming the reason for this thread is to question everything and figure a way to make the FIRST robotics competition more spectator friendly.

So, why continuous 2:00 matches?

FIRST has somewhat broken up the matches (especially in 2003) by having human player time, then autonomous mode, then remote control.

Although the break up for autonomous mode kind of took the flow out of the game, this was not necessarily a bad idea.

So, why not extend this idea.

Have a series of 1:00 plays (say three) with a :30 robot reset between them.

For example, run 1:00 remote control, then stop. Robots are returned to starting position (but the field remains in its current state) in :30 (otherwise you have to time out or take a delay of game penalty).

Run a 1:00 remote control, then stop. Reset the field.

Run the final 1:00 remote control. Count score.

This would be more like the traditional American sports, football, baseball, basketball. Hence, American viewers would be more able to clue into the game. Also the drama between plays would build.

This would also keep the problem of robots going "wheels up" or getting disabled early in a match or getting entangled from determining the outcome of the match.

By giving :30 between matches, the coaches of the two alliance partners can plan out the next play, rather than having to adapt on the fly.

It would also allow the refs more time to consult and assess penalties or warn teams so that "play outside the rules" would be less likely to affect the outcome of a match.

It would further allow a more accurate "real time score" to be computed.

By allowing time between plays, the audience would have a chance to see the drama of a match build, play by play. If you think about most modern spectator sports, the "stop action" is as important as the action. Even the "continuous action" sports (soccer, hockey) have a kind of "stop action" as the ball or puck transfers from one side of the field to the other.

sburro
05-18-2004, 01:47 PM
Her it goes:
I would like to see something moving or changing on the field. I think that the field should always be changing. Also how about a rocky surface? I would like to see a "crater?" filled field. I relize that this would cause dificulties in teams field setup, but imagine the challenge. Can anyone say drive train? Also I think that the compition time is to short.Watching it from the stands, it seems to be over before it starts.

Billfred
05-18-2004, 05:00 PM
I'm presuming the reason for this thread is to question everything and figure a way to make the FIRST robotics competition more spectator friendly.

So, why continuous 2:00 matches?

FIRST has somewhat broken up the matches (especially in 2003) by having human player time, then autonomous mode, then remote control.

Although the break up for autonomous mode kind of took the flow out of the game, this was not necessarily a bad idea.

So, why not extend this idea.

Have a series of 1:00 plays (say three) with a :30 robot reset between them.

For example, run 1:00 remote control, then stop. Robots are returned to starting position (but the field remains in its current state) in :30 (otherwise you have to time out or take a delay of game penalty).

Run a 1:00 remote control, then stop. Reset the field.

Run the final 1:00 remote control. Count score.

This would be more like the traditional American sports, football, baseball, basketball. Hence, American viewers would be more able to clue into the game. Also the drama between plays would build.

This would also keep the problem of robots going "wheels up" or getting disabled early in a match or getting entangled from determining the outcome of the match.

By giving :30 between matches, the coaches of the two alliance partners can plan out the next play, rather than having to adapt on the fly.

It would also allow the refs more time to consult and assess penalties or warn teams so that "play outside the rules" would be less likely to affect the outcome of a match.

It would further allow a more accurate "real time score" to be computed.

By allowing time between plays, the audience would have a chance to see the drama of a match build, play by play. If you think about most modern spectator sports, the "stop action" is as important as the action. Even the "continuous action" sports (soccer, hockey) have a kind of "stop action" as the ball or puck transfers from one side of the field to the other.
I like the idea, although I think real-time scoring is good enough as it is from my experience. I mean, the only thing we can't track is penalties, although we darn well try!

The only problem I see with the idea is that you'd have timing and field issues. I mean, we're looking at four minutes of matches, PLUS field reset (which takes longer than :30, trust me), and reintroducing the next set. And if the field's not reset after each phase, then trust me--the field will be disturbed, especially if it's anything like this year. I mean, there's no way you can walk around a field and not bump into a few balls (unless ComBBAT is on the field, of course (wink wink)).

Andrew
05-18-2004, 05:40 PM
(which takes longer than :30, trust me)

By field reset, I meant that the players would return their robot to the starting zone. The rest of the field would remain in the state where it ended.


then trust me--the field will be disturbed, especially if it's anything like this year.

Good point. It would depend on what the field was like. I wasn't thinking about many balls or bins strewn about the field. There could always be a penalty for upsetting the field balance.

If you consider that a team cannot get their bot back to start in :30, then they would receive a delay of game penalty. In other words, you should be thinking about getting your robot back "home" between plays. So, the last :10 of each play would probably be robots heading back "home" similar to 2002's game.

This kind of game may also require more human players. The HP role could be purely getting the robot back into position between plays. You might need 5 players in such a case (driver, manipulator, coach, HP reset 1, HP reset 2).

I realize that such a match structure would mean fewer matches per tournament. However, you would have more match time per match. Overall, you would probably get more match time with a longer match sequence than with more shorter matches, where significant time is consumed by setting up the playing field and getting robots/teams into position.

roboteer49
05-19-2004, 12:15 AM
I just came up with this in the last 5 seconds, i was just on the first site and saw that pretty blue and red robot(dont know the team). I asked myself, self, wouldn't that be cool if dean kamen and woody each created a robot and challenged the national champions to a match for the super-ultimate-awesome-galaxy championship belt. Wouldn't it be cool to see Dean's robot, a segway with a arm that could hang. I would pay to see that. :cool:

Billfred
05-20-2004, 01:13 AM
alright, I'll throw out a concept.

What if the top nine teams picked alliances, then had a play-in game between eight and nine? It boosts the number of teams that get to play (and brings in teams that were just on the bubble), but it doesn't mushroom the eliminations into something huge.

Or, if you were really looking for a concept, how about Highlander style? If the eighth seed beats the first, for example, then they can pick any of the robots in the first seed to compete with them in future matches. It makes things hard for deciding who goes to nationals (the winning robots from the finals?), but it's something to think of.

Ryan Foley
05-21-2004, 12:04 PM
I just came up with this in the last 5 seconds, i was just on the first site and saw that pretty blue and red robot(dont know the team).

I believe that robot is Team 233's 2000 robot. That was before they went pink.

Alex Pelan
05-21-2004, 06:19 PM
Not exactly radical, but here goes:
At nationals, after the division play is done, the teams are ranked according to their performance in the eliminations only. Then, alliances are picked once again (perhaps there will be some new alliance captains?). I suppose the top 4 seeds would be given the opportunity to keep their alliance from the division, if they like the way their team was...

Billfred
05-21-2004, 07:40 PM
Not exactly radical, but here goes:
At nationals, after the division play is done, the teams are ranked according to their performance in the eliminations only. Then, alliances are picked once again (perhaps there will be some new alliance captains?). I suppose the top 4 seeds would be given the opportunity to keep their alliance from the division, if they like the way their team was...
Or, to piggyback/simplify the idea...get the top 32 teams across all four divisions (33 if you want a play-in game), and line up all 2XX teams on Einstein. (Alright, so it might be better for divisional fairness if we did the top eight from each with cross-picking)

Not only do all of the teams get their moment in the spotlight, it also forces teams to work together, lest you not even know about that team over on Curie that would be great for you. Of course, given the fun we had with TacOps on Archimedes when we had our alliance selections with just ONE division...(grin)

I'm just trying to make D. Kelly's job more of an annoyance. (double grin)

ChrisH
05-23-2004, 05:09 PM
I have to credit Bill Hendry, one of our engineers with this one, but he's not on the Forum so here goes:

Currently the top seed picks first and then on down the line until there are eight alliances and then we start over at the top. But what if instead, the #8 alliance immediately got a second pick and then we worked backwards so that on the second round #1 picked last?

It could certaily even things up a bit

Andrew
05-23-2004, 06:42 PM
October: Sign up for competitions. You pick the number of competitions you want to attend (1, 2, 3, ...) but not specific competitions.

December: Entry fees due. You pay for whatever you committed to or you drop an event.

Three weeks into Build Phase: All teams bid on competitions. You make your bid based on your first, second, third, fourth preference. You must indicate more preferences than competition bids, since you might not get your first, second, third, ... preference.

One week later: During the next week, the competition committees at each regional select from their bids. They extend invitations to the number of teams necessary to fill up their regionals. Teams are notified so that they can make travel plans.

Advantages:
1. Gives the regional committees some say in who will attend their regionals. There have been "incidents" where a regional committee might not want to see a team return, at least for a time. This would give them some power of enforcement.

2. Teams which know exactly what they want to do right now get first dibs on most spots. Teams which are less clued in sometimes have to take whatever is left. Everyone would be on an equal footing with this system.

3. If you are having an awesome build phase, you might want to bid for the "tougher" regionals. If you are falling apart, you might want to pick a less prestigious stage to play in. Especially with qualifications for nationals, you probably want to save your energy for a year where you nail the game, rather than one where you're going to waste your time.

4. Regional committees can balance the types of teams attending their regional. If they want to have a "fresh, new look" they can get more 1st and 2nd year teams. If they want to have a "veteran" competition, they can select some lower number teams.

5. Corrections can be made between overly full regionals and lightly attended regionals.


Disadvantages:
The current system is pretty good and works reasonably well. This proposed system would add complexity to the planning process. If the regional planning committees don't want the added responsibility and work, then this would be an unwanted imposition.

Gabe Salas Jr.
05-24-2004, 04:03 AM
I believe that robot is Team 233's 2000 robot. That was before they went pink.

Yes, that is our beloved Roccobot 2k. The picture on the FIRST website is a very dark shade of pink, which kinda makes it look like red. But we have been a PINK team ever since we started back in 1999. And here is my proof. (http://ranier.hq.nasa.gov/first/2000Nationals/Team233_2.jpg) :p

tkwetzel
10-26-2004, 02:46 PM
First suggestion...Tag team matches...have 3 team alliances with all 3 robots on the field. However, only allow two to be powered at one time. You could require the non-powered robot to be against your teams wall at all times. You could also say that you can only switch once, so once you depower one of the robots that was powered at the beginning of the match, you can not use that robot again.

Second suggestion...have scoring zones like in several games of the past, but make it so where the robot is at the end of the match determines the alliance it is on and how many points the team gets. So all four robots could end up in the same scoring zone and all get the same amount of points, or it could be 1v3 or 2v2. You could also allow for multipliers for the fewer number of bots on an alliance. So you could get a better multiplier if you play by yourself against the other 3 bots.

soap108
10-28-2004, 02:54 PM
Three days of points collection. The average points (total pts divided by # of matches) counts towards qualifying for Championship. Winning awards can add to point total.

The field and the objects are the same each day, but the task of manipulating the objects for points changes.
Example: (based on 2003)
Day 1 put boxes in a stack as high as you can as quick as you can.
Day 2 put boxes into a pyramid. The wider the base the better the score, but multiple pyramids of just 3 boxes gain points too.
Day 3 move boxes from pt A to pt B as fast as you can.

At the end of Day 3 add up all the points and declare gold, silver, and bronze winners.

Since teams can attend multiple regionals, their best average score counts toward attending Championship.


KA-108 :cool:

RoboMom
10-28-2004, 04:07 PM
I'm going to go the exact opposite way and say, let's make the coach have to be a student too.

I'll second that.

dbSparx
04-26-2005, 10:17 AM
This thread is a spin-off of this discussion (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=261517), 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 two-team alliance format. Like the above thread, this thread is meant to collect creative ideas that can be applied to any game concept.

-dave

I agree with the promotion of offense over defense, especially to control the battle-bots approach to the game. I also agree with the single objective game (and I love the 3 on 3 game format). The conflicts I had this year were (1) the use of penalties of the means of promoting offense and (2) the single objective was clearly out of reach for some teams, creating a huge disparity in the quality of teams and, therefore, game play (while also very frustrating to under-resourced teams who want to put a capable bot on the field but lack the means to do so). I have two thoughts that are attempts to address these areas.

To address (1), I have been working on how to replace penalties with a more progressive form of promoting offense. I wanted to come up with a reward for offense that was very observable, very valuable to a team, and fairly easy to manage. Here is the thought I am working on. At the end of the match, the number of objects scored by the two alliances are totaled. (This year, the number of tetras placed on top of a goal would have been counted). Each team would be awarded the total count for both alliances in points, similar to ranking points, only it is the count of objects instead of score that is considered. Before the start of the match, the average points would be calculated for each alliance. Following autonomous mode (assuming there is an autonomous mode and it remains at the beginning of the match), the team with the greater average number of points gets a five-second head start. The robots on the team with the lesser average are disabled until five seconds of match play have expired (imagine the anxiety it would create for the team sitting and waiting. Talk about incentive). For the first match, as all teams have no points, all teams start at the same time. So long as at least one team has played one match, the average would be calculated by dividing total points by the number of teams considered in that total (excluding those that have not yet played a match). This point average would be considered right through the tournaments, which would mean that the total points for a given team might be worth considering in the draft. This would promote a very offense-oriented tournament and could make it easier for teams to form draft boards (teams that used rankings to form their draft boards were typically crushed in the tournaments, as the rankings have as much to do with luck of the alliance draw as robot ability. The current model favors teams with experience). It would also have the fun side-effect of allowing FIRST to keep track of the total objects scored, a fun statistic to report at the end of each event and compare across regionals and national divisions. Imagine what the sum total might be if you added all the tetras placed for every match played this year. :)

My thought on addressing (2) while staying with the single objective model is to add an ADA approach to the solution. For people with disabilities, the ADA provides laws that require organizations to provide alternative means of access for a given objective, say, accessing a building normally entered via a stairway. That mechanism is often less efficient than that which is available to people who do not have the physical limitation (long ramps or elevators). Taking this thought and applying it to a game, what if three of this year's goals were replaced by a single-width ramp or platform that would allow a team that did not have the means to construct a safe and efficient lifting mechanism to drive up the ramp and place tetras on top of a goal (it really wouldn't have worked very well for this years game, I merely use this year's game for illustration purposes)? Access to the ramp could be restricted to one robot at a time, which would control the king-of-the-mountain problem and create enough inefficiency to really drive teams to elevate the objects using on-board lift mechanisms, yet give under-resourced teams approachable access to the main objective. It would also lift up the smaller robots during the games so they are more visible to the crowd, creating more visual appeal and excitement for those teams who choose to use it.

I think when all is said and done, the tournaments would favor machines that could elevate the object of the game, just as most people use the stairs, but it would at least make the game approachable and be a great message. Additionally, given the size of some of the smaller regionals, you might find some of the teams who couldn't build a lifting mechanism drafted and competing more effectively. In this year's game, for instance, the under-resourced team could have capped the winning goal. Serious cool points.

MarkVH
04-26-2005, 07:19 PM
For the championship, another day should be added for qualification rounds to give teams in each division a more mixed alliance pairings.

This may not be practical, since the practice rounds are on thursday.