2019 Team Update 17


I’m surprised they still haven’t fixed the thing where you can look around the sandstorm.

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CHS lost 2 spots for district champs.

Im guessing it was something that was allowed to begin with, but then the change to it today makes me question if It is allowed. Todays update seems like a bandaid to a cut thats on the wrong arm.

To me it sounds like the rule change is there so somebody isn’t like hey they were looking up at the sky which is over the alliance wall and they get penalized for that.


Also relevant: the sandstorm in from of the red 3 driver station at both Kettering events was sometimes caught in a draft, and much of the hab was occasionally visible.

I doubt FIRST would do something to stop this. If it seriously became an issue they might add a bit of weight to it so it stayed down but if you can see the hab I don’t see an issue.

I noticed some teams using the big score screen with the video of the field to navigate during sandstorm, maybe they’re making it clear that this is explicitly allowed?

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The GDC explicitly allows this


Given that the HUMAN PLAYERS, COACHES, and DRIVERS are in compliance with H9 and H10, is it legal for them to view the big screen at the event during the SANDSTORM PERIOD? Will the official FIRST video crews be given specific directives about what to video or display at the venue during the SANDSTORM PERIOD?


There are no rules that prohibit this. There are no specific guidelines that will be provided to production crews with regards to the SANDSTORM PERIOD. Teams should expect that screens at events will be in variety of locations and may display any combination of full field, partial field, and zoomed-in camera shots.

WHY they allow it when it seems to completely fly in the face of “no peeking” is beyond me, but them’s the rules. No looking at the field… except when it’s through a digital interface, then it’s fine.


I think it was just to clarify and take away a potential gray area for those who don’t religiously read the q&a which I think is a good thing to do.

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What do you think a robot-mounted camera is? The field overhead feed is just as disorienting as a robot pov camera, if not more so.

I’ll be the first to admit that in one match our camera stopped working a few seconds into the sandstorm (after our Lv2 jump), and we utilized the overhead feed to successfully place a hatch panel on the end of the cargo ship. Gotta make the most of the situation you find yourself in.

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Does anyone know what happened to chs to make them lose spots?

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FIRST HQ punished them for too much CHScaking.


However, at my most recent event, if you were driving on the blue side, the reflection of the big screen was present on the glass right in front of the drivers, while on the red side you could not see a reflection or the big screen itself, so this is pretty large unfair advantage during sandstorm…

CHS has always known we only had 58. It was a mistake in the manual.

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I think looking around it is allowed. The rule specifically says that you cannot look over the alliance way. It doesn’t say anything about from the side (which teams are already doing) as long as you don’t go over the lines you have to stay between.

Yep, you have to stay completely between the lines. The Sandstorm covers the entire area between the lines (other than wind or what-have-you). Realistically all you’ll be able to see is the Loading Station.

AFAIK the change was due to space constraints at the DCMP venue.

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This right here is likely the reason for the edit to the rule. Keep in mind, if there’s a disagreement between Q&A and the Game Manual, the Game Manual prevails. Given that, here’s an interaction I suspect happened this past week:

Team looks over SANDSTORM to watch screen.
Referee notices and flags for violating H10
In a discussion, it’s likely pointed out the Q&A stated it was alright (either between referees before the call is finalized or between students and HR in the question box). While this is true, there’s a disagreement between Q&A and the Game Manual. In that case, the wording of H10 becomes applicable. The team, after having sought out help and being given an answer, is “correctly” penalized for peeking over the ALLIANCE WALL during SANDSTORM.

As the Game Manual will always take precedence over the Q&A, the only way to correct this situation is to make a slight update to the wording of the rule itself. Now, the Q&A and Game Manual align and this wouldn’t be called against the team moving forward.

The Q&A cannot explicitly allow anything. It just tries to help offer clarification on the rules that exist. In this case, they answered what the intent was and missed a rule that did apply, as written. Now, that’s corrected.

This interpretation of how the Q&A works would essentially make the entire Q&A worthless.

Of course Q&A answers have weight - they clarify what the manual says and intends. The “manual trumps the Q&A” thing is really only if there is a mistake or later update. Otherwise, why even have a Q&A if it can be overridden by an alternate interpretation of the same rule?

Questions about any 2019 Game and Season Manual content and FIRST Robotics Competition Event Experience web page content may be asked to FIRST using the official Question and Answer System (i.e. “the Q&A”), which opens on January 9, 2019, noon Eastern. Details on the Q&A can be found on the DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Game and Season Materials web page. The Q&A is intended to help clarify rules, and sometimes the responses result in revisions to the text in the official document (which is communicated using Team Updates).

The Q&A is not a resource for

• rulings on hypothetical strategies or vague situations,

• challenging decisions made at past events, or

• design reviews of a ROBOT system for legality.

The responses in the Q&A do not supersede the text in the manual, although every effort will be made to eliminate inconsistencies between the two. While responses provided in the Q&A may be used to aid discussion at each event, per Inspection & Eligibility Rules and REFEREE Interaction sections, REFEREES and Inspectors are the ultimate authority on rules. If you have concerns about enforcement trends by volunteer authorities, please notify FIRST at [email protected].

How else would you “interpret” this?