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  #106   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 01-11-2018, 11:45 AM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by marshall View Post
As is seeking rule changes. Trust me. Those rules have been chiseled into granite statues at FIRST HQ by Frank himself and neither logic, nor reason, nor constant pestering for nearly a year straight will ever get them changed.
USB battery packs are legal this year, so something you did worked.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 11:49 AM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by cgmv123 View Post
USB battery packs are legal this year, so something you did worked.
Truthfully it was not my loud mouthed and frequent obnoxious posts on CD but some polite in-person conversations with people that did the most good. It's not me, it's people who were able to put the past aside and move forward that made the change. Don't give me credit for it.

My sarcastic comment in the thread is purely a notion that discussing these things in an open way can lead to change.

EDIT: Also... SHHHH!!! The LRIs might band together and issue a fatwā calling for my demise about those USB battery packs being legal now. I fully expect every robot with them to catch fire immediately upon being set upon the field. Run! Run for your lives!
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Last edited by marshall : 01-11-2018 at 12:00 PM.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 12:45 PM
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Re: Unfairness in plate assignment

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Originally Posted by Lil' Lavery View Post
As opposed to losing qualification matches and seeding outside of alliance captaincy because of the random qualification schedule?
I honestly don't see how this post relates to the discussion. We can both agree that uneven factors beyond a teams control do not produce an even playing field for all teams. Shouldn't the game/tournament be eliminating or reducing as many uneven factors the best it can? Random qualification schedule can not be balanced without some serious work, uneven plate assignments could easily be solved before week one.

TLDR: Just because 2 bad things exist, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix one.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 12:50 PM
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Re: Unfairness in plate assignment

Hmm, 8 setups? They could implement a ban system. Both alliances get one ban which they can use to reduce the amount of layouts. Then they randomly pick from the reduced pool, an alliance could choose to ban the "unfair" one or if they know the opposing alliance has a preferred layout they can ban that one away.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 12:53 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Life isn't fair ... that's the truth.
I appreciate what you are saying, but I feel like you are arguing about something else entirely. If a competition (not life) favors a particular team through randomness, it can do no real harm to reasonably petition. FRC is not life (contrary to what I often believe), and we should strive to make it an even playing field. You don't have to. But trying to shut other people down is uncalled for.

If there was a rule that said a random number generator would pick an alliance to start without the pre-loaded cubes I think it would be unreasonable to not petition that rule.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 01:13 PM
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Re: Unfairness in plate assignment

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Originally Posted by Bennett548 View Post
This link shows two examples of plate assignments.

What I would like to see is a change so that the randomizer picks between 4 options: RRR, LLL, RLR, LRL. Those assignments always give fair fields, and it would still give a lot of variation in the games. It might produce slightly different average scores when all the plates are on one side, but at least it would be fair for both teams on the field.
I agree and the solution is instead of the current three randomizations, you'd have only two: Switch and Scale. The Switch outcome would apply equally to both switches.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 01:44 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Monochron View Post
I appreciate what you are saying, but I feel like you are arguing about something else entirely. If a competition (not life) favors a particular team through randomness, it can do no real harm to reasonably petition. FRC is not life (contrary to what I often believe), and we should strive to make it an even playing field. You don't have to. But trying to shut other people down is uncalled for.

If there was a rule that said a random number generator would pick an alliance to start without the pre-loaded cubes I think it would be unreasonable to not petition that rule.
It is my belief that "reasonably petitioning" something that is a purposeful design of the challenge is a waste of time and energy. I would rather put my time and energy into solving that challenge, or building in a "unfair advantage" into my robot.

FRC has always been a non-level playing field, whether it's the random seeding match alliance selection, the number of mentors each team can have, the machining capabilities of each team, etc., etc. it is 'unfair'.

one more 'unfair' random possibility will not tip the scales . I believe that all of these can be overcome with out-of-the-box thinking. We are trying to inspire engineers, that is what this is about ... and if we can get them to think in ways that answer the problem (rather than complain about the question) then we have won, regardless of how we do on the (unfair) playing field.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 01:55 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
It is my belief that "reasonably petitioning" something that is a purposeful design of the challenge is a waste of time and energy. I would rather put my time and energy into solving that challenge, or building in a "unfair advantage" into my robot.

FRC has always been a non-level playing field, whether it's the random seeding match alliance selection, the number of mentors each team can have, the machining capabilities of each team, etc., etc. it is 'unfair'.

one more 'unfair' random possibility will not tip the scales . I believe that all of these can be overcome with out-of-the-box thinking. We are trying to inspire engineers, that is what this is about ... and if we can get them to think in ways that answer the problem (rather than complain about the question) then we have won, regardless of how we do on the (unfair) playing field.
I guess now is a good time to point out that I never really complained about the fairness of the randomization, or even questioned it. In fact, I went out of my way to avoid using the word "fair" in the entire post; saving it for one rhetorical question where I openly wondered if the GDC asks itself the question about a fair field and challenges itself to prove their answer when designing a game. In fact, fair isn't even the best word! Neutral probably fits better here.

Game design is an unenviable job. Teams can break the design, break the field, and break the spirits of the Q&A group. If the Rules Review Committee still existed for this game, they were likely presented with this design quirk of the individual assignment and didn't notice or didn't actively consider what exactly each of these 8 profiles could mean.

My post just pointed out the asymmetrical profiles can result in a forcing of two different types of games to be played at the same time, and I asked with open curiosity whether or not people considered this to be a bug or a feature.

Alas, I can't control the facts that:

a) you seem really focused on telling me to pull myself up by my own bootstraps
b) a moderator made a unilateral decision to move my discussion into a thread that explicitly cites "unfairness" in the assignments and condemn the questions I posed to an eternity of the drivel that infests the Chief Delphiratti.

You seem to be very fixated on telling everyone here that life is not fair and FRC is not fair. That's great! Everyone needs a hobby! That's just not remotely what the post was about.

Have a great day though!
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Unread 01-11-2018, 02:03 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
one more 'unfair' random possibility will not tip the scales . I believe that all of these can be overcome with out-of-the-box thinking. We are trying to inspire engineers, that is what this is about ... and if we can get them to think in ways that answer the problem (rather than complain about the question) then we have won, regardless of how we do on the (unfair) playing field.
It probably will tip the scales in a lot of matches depending on how the game play out. I don't really see how this specific randomness is any unique challenge for teams. It changes the paths and distances required for autonomous and teleop. Which is fine if it changes it the same for both alliances. I like the previous comparison to can grabber battles in 2015, except one side gets to start closer sometimes. It just seems unnecessary to me. You can still have RNG and keep things symmetrical.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 02:10 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by PayneTrain View Post
Alas, I can't control the facts that:

a) you seem really focused on telling me to pull myself up by my own bootstraps
b) a moderator made a unilateral decision to move my discussion into a thread that explicitly cites "unfairness" in the assignments and condemn the questions I posed to an eternity of the drivel that infests the Chief Delphiratti.

You seem to be very fixated on telling everyone here that life is not fair and FRC is not fair. That's great! Everyone needs a hobby! That's just not remotely what the post was about.

Have a great day though!
None of my last few responses were directed at your comments. I apologize if you took them as direct pot shots at you.

As far as bullet point A goes: It wasn't directed at you, but towards the 'this is unfair' posts ... and is good practice for when people face adversity. Walls are put there to see how much you really want it.


For the most part, I was answering the posts that were part of bullet point 'B' and your statement afterwards.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 02:14 PM
AlexanderTheOK AlexanderTheOK is offline
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
It is my belief that "reasonably petitioning" something that is a purposeful design of the challenge is a waste of time and energy. I would rather put my time and energy into solving that challenge, or building in a "unfair advantage" into my robot.

FRC has always been a non-level playing field, whether it's the random seeding match alliance selection, the number of mentors each team can have, the machining capabilities of each team, etc., etc. it is 'unfair'.

one more 'unfair' random possibility will not tip the scales . I believe that all of these can be overcome with out-of-the-box thinking. We are trying to inspire engineers, that is what this is about ... and if we can get them to think in ways that answer the problem (rather than complain about the question) then we have won, regardless of how we do on the (unfair) playing field.
Do you... Do you like unfair random seeds and resource imbalances among teams? Your comment here really confuses me because most of the community agrees that these things are problems, not features designed into FRC, and has put quite a bit of effort into mitigating them. Do you consider these things to be challenges integral to FRC, the removal of which would damage FRC?

I know I personally would be overjoyed if every team had half a dozen mentors and a $30,000 for every season. I would be ecstatic were a technique discovered to make perfectly balanced qualification schedules. Were these aspects of the game already fair, I would certainly not advocate that they be intentionally made unfair.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 02:28 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Walls are put there to see how much you really want it.
LOL.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 02:33 PM
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Re: Game Design and the Perils of the Vacuum

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Walls are put there to see how much you really want it.


So are you our wall?
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Unread 01-11-2018, 03:01 PM
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Re: Unfairness in plate assignment

There is a difference between the existence of inequities in the competition as a whole and in the matches in particular, and I think overlooking or dismissing that is at the root of the disagreements here.

I come from a team that strove to be upper echelon of FRC, and though it's clear we didn't often reach that goal, we usually designed robots to play every facet of the game, submitted for every award, and had the goal of seeding or being picked first at every one our events, then winning them. I'm prouder than I can say of the seven blue banners we won during my four years as a student, but we often felt that there was more we could have done to be better. I now mentor two teams, one of which is focused on being a quality contributor to any alliance and probably being picked moderately well at lower-level regionals, and the other of which has very few resources and mainly tries to field a robot with a working manipulator that can score some points for their partners—getting picked would be an accomplishment.

The students on all of these teams are getting a lot out of FRC, even with the understanding that there are vastly different calibers of teams elsewhere in the world. As Alexander says, it would be wonderful if we could raise all of them up to a minimum level of resources and money, but we know that's not happening any time soon, and we accept that we come to events with different ideas of success in mind.

Also obviously, there is not a perfect way to arrange N teams into M matches of exactly equal combined skill at an event, especially when we have no comprehensive way of evaluating the skills of each team beforehand.

However, when the gates close and the drivers stand behind their lines, the equal treatment of competitors is sacrosanct. This is true in sports, and it should be true in FRC. Sure, not every college in the country can recruit football players like Alabama can, and they can't all afford millions of dollars of state-of-the-art facilities, but no matter who comes to town to play them, the field will still be a rectangle, not a trapezoid. In a single match, it doesn't matter whether it's "fair" that you have to play 254 and 1678 together in a qualification match. What matters is that no one—not you, and not them—gets an advantage or a handicap for the 2:30 between the bell and the buzzer. It doesn't even matter whether you know who is benefiting in real time. When the robots start moving, may the better alliance win, and unless you are all playing exactly the same game, every win or loss deserves an asterisk.
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Unread 01-11-2018, 03:21 PM
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Re: Unfairness in plate assignment

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Originally Posted by Ekcrbe View Post
However, when the gates close and the drivers stand behind their lines, the equal treatment of competitors is sacrosanct. This is true in sports, and it should be true in FRC. Sure, not every college in the country can recruit football players like Alabama can, and they can't all afford millions of dollars of state-of-the-art facilities, but no matter who comes to town to play them, the field will still be a rectangle, not a trapezoid. In a single match, it doesn't matter whether it's "fair" that you have to play 254 and 1678 together in a qualification match. What matters is that no one—not you, and not them—gets an advantage or a handicap for the 2:30 between the bell and the buzzer. It doesn't even matter whether you know who is benefiting in real time. When the robots start moving, may the better alliance win, and unless you are all playing exactly the same game, every win or loss deserves an asterisk.
I would argue that all the robots in a match are playing the same game. Both alliances know that there are 8 possibilities for layout of platform ownership, and both do not have access to the information about which layout they will play on until the match starts. Each alliance must prepare for all of the possibilities.

There are plenty of competitive environments where this type of randomness is accepted. Scrabble, poker, whatever. Why not FRC, for just one year?
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