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Unread 03-04-2005, 08:54 PM
KenWittlief KenWittlief is offline
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Hey everyone, Its a ghost from the past :^)

Ive been too busy at my new job to be on a team, or to even keep up with whats going on this year

But I could not pass up the New Finger Lakes Regional at RIT in rochester, esp since my new company is only about 2 miles away

I got there this morning when matches were allready being played, and I sat in the bleechers for a while and had two predominate thoughts

1. WOW! this is awesome - we waiting for a Rochester Regional for so long

and

2. I have NO IDEA whats happing on the field, what the score is, whos winning

after 3 or 4 hours I caught on a little. I agree with the first post in this thread, walk-in spectators are not going to have a clue whats going on this year

but I gotta add, having 6 bots on the field all doing their stuff sure looks impressive!

Last edited by KenWittlief : 03-04-2005 at 08:56 PM.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 08:55 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
Smash 'em and bash 'em is what I say!
To each their own I guess. I find it much more exciting, entertaining, and inspirational to watch robots that really attempt to solve the challenge that FIRST provides us (manipulating tetras and balls, hanging, stacking bins, moving goals) than it is to watch a box on wheels just bash into whatever is in its way.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 09:01 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that FIRST thought that with 6 robots on the field, the scores would be higher, so they lowered the scoring points and left the penalties the same. In their minds, this probably would have evened out the scores. However, getting good scores turned out to be harder than they thought. They couldn't change the rules so they let it go. So we have a very low scoring game and the penalties, which would have been good for previous years' scores, are now over excessive. To have 5 or more points for capping would have mad the scoring better. But I don't think teh people that made this game knew how hard it would be to get decient scores. Previous years, good (non-penilized scores) would be about 50 and great ones would be above 100. This year, good (non-penilized scores) are about 10 and great ones are above 20. Like I keep on saying, it's not that they made huge penilites, but that the regular scores are much lower.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 09:02 PM
Tom Bottiglieri Tom Bottiglieri is offline
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenWittlief
Hey everyone, Its a ghost from the past :^)

Ive been too busy at my new job to be on a team, or to even keep up with whats going on this year

But I could not pass up the New Finger Lakes Regional at RIT in rochester, esp since my new company is only about 2 miles away

I got there this morning when matches were allready being played, and I sat in the bleechers for a while and had two predominate thoughts

1. WOW! this is awesome - we waiting for a Rochester Regional for so long

and

2. I have NO IDEA whats happing on the field, what the score is, whos winning

after 3 or 4 hours I caught on a little. I agree with the first post in this thread, walk-in spectators are not going to have a clue whats going on this year

but I gotta add, having 6 bots on the field all doing their stuff sure looks impressive!
Ken, first of all: Welcome back!! The boards haven't been quite the same since the beginning of your hiatus.

As for spectators, I agree it will be very hard to catch on. While the game is simple to explain, it can get very complicated in actual play.

As for actual penalties, I agree with sanddrag. While FIRST isnt battlebots, its still fun to go and push other robots around. Guess we'll just have to avoid the loading stations..
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Unread 03-04-2005, 09:12 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Also, i find it odd that First Stayed with same LED'S even though there were many complaints about them last year, including not being able to see them unless you were really close to the bot. And last year, it was easily to clarify what team was on which alliance, but this year it is not so. Only the fact that if they have a blue tetra, they are probably on the blue alliance.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 09:22 PM
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Question Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

There was a call at VCU the announcer said today over the webcast that has me worried. He said a robot (I'll just call it red) bumped into an opposing robot (blue) that was stacking a tetra. In the process of being bumped, the stacking blue robot unstacked a blue tetra from the goal. The refs called it against red, saying it was red's fault for unstacking the tetra, and gave blue possession of the goal and 3 points for the unstacked tetra.

Does anyone else think it was red's fault? Should blue have been given permanent possession of the goal and the 3 points for the de-stacked tetra? Did anyone see it and what did you think?

Update: the opposite just happened in the finals. Blue bumbed into stacking red and red pushed off a stacked blue tetra. The call was that blue unstacked their own tetra.

I went back through the rulebook and I couldn't find this situation covered. I believe this call is beyond even the intention of the rules, of which I think are misguided this year. There's too much discouragement of competitive interaction among teams. This is coming from a member of a team that last year had their computer smashed and allies that were taken out in a pushing match during the semifinals. As a spectator, I want to see teams vie for position to stack that final tetra, not sit on opposite ends of the field afraid to get close to each other. While I think it's good that the refs are being very strict and consistent this weekend, setting a precedent for the rest of the competitions, I think, at least with the call I mentioned above, they're going overboard.
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Last edited by jpsaul7usa : 03-05-2005 at 04:46 PM. Reason: update
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Unread 03-04-2005, 09:31 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

I believe that was covered in an update somewhere. Mostly in reference to the not interference in loading zons rules, but FIRST set a precedent for penalizing the root cause of the infraction. The given example was a red bot pushing blue-a into blue-b that's loading. red gets the penalty.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 09:52 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

This was definitely true. We counted capped tetras and then sat around wondering what the score would be. We are not going to make anything of it, but my bigger complaint would be that there were some bots there being driven pretty aggressively, to the point of kicking wheelies when they charged. As a rookie team leader I was surprised by this & dissappointed that penalties were incurred for what seem minor placement issues but not crashing; some robots were damaged and ours was knocked over. Certainly in the future we will be building our machine to handle more severe shocks.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 10:25 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
I really don't want this to become "the pretty pink robot ballerina game"
Trust me, if you'd seen last years Central Florida Regionals final matches with Team Voltage's TyRap IV against Think Pink, you wouldn't be thinking of ballerinas.

We will be making contact and we will be blocking and pushing to block scores and to score. What I'm saying is that we won't be engaging in those activities where people could be unnecessarily endangered.

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Unread 03-04-2005, 10:39 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

After watching webcasts and reading up on this issue in this thread, I have a couple thoughts on the issue.

I agree with the safety aspect. With high reaching arms and the major tendency to topple, sometimes it's just important to avoid this penalties.

Please keep in mind last year's game. Though there wasn't such an extent of penalties, their were penalties. The first day of matches, there was trouble. However, at a team's second regional, instinct taught drivers and coaches what situations to avoid or how to solve them if they came up.

I think that this kinda of change will occur in this year's game, just on a different level perhaps. The best strategy is possibly to discuss with your alliance beforehand and set a few things down.

Also, I'd like to point out that a team with an expert knowledge of penalty regulations will be a very valuable alliance partner for finals, if that's motivation to anyone.

Good luck everyone
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Unread 03-04-2005, 11:34 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Note: I only got to watch the first seven or so matches before school started so what I write here is based entirely on those matches and the few matches I caught later in the day.

I have to agree that the scoring is difficult to keep up with. This was evidenced at least in the first few matches by the fact that the judges were about a match behind in the scoring.

I also have to agree that the penalties are excessive. In fact I noticed that a team could be more productive by playing defense than by trying hard to score. Teams that tried hard to score generally ended up incurring far more penalties than they scored points, thus ending up with a score of zero. If a team were to just score a tetra or two, then play a very safe defensive match they could generally win.

One thing I think we are going to see a lot of starting next weekend (maybe this weekend too) is teams doing something they know will incur a penalty, and knowing that they dont even have a chance to win the match, and venting their frustration on the field. While they certainly wont do anything drastic, I predict some intentional ramming and or flipping.
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Unread 03-04-2005, 11:37 PM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Today at Rochester, my team started to get a little aggressive with defense because other teams were getting rough. At one point, we were pinned in by two robots from the other alliance. We finally had to cut down on our tougher defense after a few bad matches; we bumped a robot while they were in the human player loading station. In another round, another alliance partner did the same thing we did. 30 point penalties in both rounds. I can see why the human player loading station would be such a high penalty, we don't want the human player risking injury from another robot.

We corrected ourselves; however, we are afraid of these penalties, they can really hurt your score. While we may dislike the high point penalties, it's part of the game and part of the challenge.
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Unread 03-05-2005, 12:44 AM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoag
We corrected ourselves; however, we are afraid of these penalties, they can really hurt your score. While we may dislike the high point penalties, it's part of the game and part of the challenge.

Bingo!

People... this is the point. FIRST is trying to create a game where offensive, task-oriented robots should be able to be somewhat free to what they are designed to do.

If people are complaining that they are getting too many penalties for playing a little defense, one the other side of the field, with a partner as they pin their opponent, then I don't see good reason for that compaint.

A certain level of robot interaction is fun to see... but think about this from a scientific perspective. How is a 10 foot tall robot supposed to have a chance if a 2 foot tall robot is ramming them? These penalties are present to allow the taller, extended teams to control their robot to score points by stacking tetras without getting mauled by a brick on wheels.

Here is the situation: for the first time ever in FIRST, a VERY high percentage of teams have rock solid drive bases. At the same time, we all know that it is difficult to design a good arm to score these silly tetras. So, teams who see their opposition with more scoring ability want to use their drive base to help them win the match.

I bet that 3 separate things are happening tonight:

1. Many drive teams are getting lectured, being told to stop getting penalties

2. Refs at different competitions are comparing notes and trying to get consistent.

3. The Game Design Committee are discussing these issues.

People... chill. It is week 1. Recall week 1 last year when many teams said "no one is capping with the 2x ball"... "only a few teams are hanging". It is early. We will see more clarity from the refs and I hope we see more restraint from the defensive drivers.

Just some thoughts,
Andy B.

Last edited by Andy Baker : 03-05-2005 at 12:46 AM.
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Unread 03-05-2005, 01:02 AM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpsaul7usa
There was a call at VCU the announcer said today over the webcast that has me worried. He said a robot (I'll just call it red) bumped into an opposing robot (blue) that was stacking a tetra. In the process of being bumped, the stacking blue robot unstacked a blue tetra from the goal. The refs called it against red, saying it was red's fault for unstacking the tetra, and gave blue possession of the goal and 3 points for the unstacked tetra.
I'm worried, too. Should we ask the event-goers to all hold hands, put flowers in their hair, and sing songs pining for the What just happened? Is that all? Who the heck won? days of 2001? Geez.

I understand and agree with the often stated desire to introduce as many tetras to the field as possible in as safe a manner as possible with as little interference from the opposition as possible. The rules and penalties for infractions during tetra introductions are well documented and have been well enforced so far this season. That's great. However, I think we should separate that situation from the one described above, where two robots, one offensive and one defensive, are in direct competition with each other near a goal, and the field officials are artificially limiting one team's ability to execute their strategy, LEGAL ACCORDING TO THE RULES, in order to favor the other team's ability to execute theirs. It's NOT an issue of safety at this point; instead, it's an issue of someone attempting to impose upon teams their vision of what type of robots and gameplay they want to see displayed ("behavior modification", as Dave put it). Of course, it's their right to do whatever they choose - the NFL and many other sports leagues tweak their rules attempting to achieve a desired effect all the time. Like these other leagues, they should also explicitly state ALL of their revisions in their rulebook well ahead of time, and they should recognize there are risks involved with heavily favoring one style of play over another, not the least of which are having enough teams with the offensive capability to give you the large amount of high scoring matches you desire and seeing teams who cannot possibly adapt to the directive lash out negatively with even harder hitting and more penalties than before (which some have observed). You can skew the rules toward offense til doomsday, but if a team ain't got the horses to compete on par with the big dogs, they're still going to do poorly and do so in a far more uninteresting or dangerous manner.

I don't know about you guys, but whenever I'M a spectator, I'm much more excited and entertained watching an offense that's strong enough to bust through and score against a tenacious defense than one that scores at will against A.) a poor defense, or B.) one that's rendered toothless by flag-happy refs who are inclined to do anything to keep the star quarterback from hurting his pinky. With the absence of defense, how often are the competing teams that evenly matched in offensive capabilities to provide a thrilling outcome? A balanced robot sporting adequate offense and a strong defense can counteract an all-offense team; take away their ability to play defense, and they have very little chance of victory. Take it away and wait until the season starts and the refs start tossing the flags for them to realize it, and you have a team with little chance of victory and a whole bunch of anger and frustration heaped on top of it.

Many of these rookie teams (and probably many vets as well) have not created robots with arms that function nearly as well as they'd like; because of this, many may often feel that a defensive strategy will give them the best chance to succeed in a match, especially when they're facing teams with super wowee spiffy gee-whiz uber-arms. Is this apparently offense-skewed application of the rules early on making it harder for the "little guy" to succeed, therefore giving the "better" teams an advantage they probably didn't earn? Is it causing these teams to take a "Who cares? We've been hamstrung to the point where defeat is certain, so let's go mash metal?" approach to the matches? We shall see. There's a fine line between allowing vets to showcase their technology to better inspire the younger teams to elevate their game and overloading the balance of power to the point where the young teams feel they can't compete and simply give up or give in to their more un-GP emotions.

I know there are a bunch of offensive minded people out there who would love to see these "protect the QB" referee rule interpretations continue. I feel obligated to present an opposing viewpoint in an attempt to draw people's opinions back toward a middle ground. From a ref perspective, in my mind, the best referee is one who's presence is barely felt, in part because the game rules are so balanced and well defined that a referee's interpretation is rarely needed. It was very much that way most of last year, and I hope this game and its refs eventually shift into that pattern. If they don't, I'll deal with it, as I'm sure will many other teams. It's those teams who aren't equipped to deal with it I'm most worried about.
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Last edited by Travis Hoffman : 03-05-2005 at 03:47 AM. Reason: Anger Management
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Unread 03-05-2005, 01:06 AM
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Re: How on Earth are spectators meant to easily discern who wins?

I love it when there is someone that obviously "gets it". People, please read Andy's words again. He has homed in on the right interpretation of the penalties. There are there for a reason. They are behavior modifiers that are intended to have an effect. If a team is modifying their style of play based on a concern about accumulating too many penalties, then the simple existence of the penalties is fulfilling the intended purpose.

The message is simple: STAY AWAY FROM THE LOADING ZONES WHEN AN OPPONENT IS RETRIEVING A TETRA! Lots of tetras should be coming out onto the field. The way to beat an opponent that is scoring tetras is to retrieve and score more than they do, not by wrestling over access to their loading zone.

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