Endgame Vs Auton

So they dropped endgame last year, what do we gain and lose from dropping auton?


  1. Last years games at high tier vs mid tier teams from my viewpoint was how well did we perform in auton vs them in auton and game play was based on that. In some extreme instances, the game was decided by a 3 ball vs no ball match up.
  2. Standardize starting placements. Specific rules were in place to address how robots were placed on the field so that goalie bots were not completely nullified by smart placement. In a few instances matches were delayed because robots were placed on the field in the incorrect order. A minor oversight but there anyway.
  3. More options are opened up for counter play and smart play, if you have defensive driving and area denial consist of not only playing against the active game but positioning for the end game.
  4. I can already hear the uproar that such an important part of the game is removed please don’t hurt me.
  5. The complexity of rules involved is kinda weird. The safe thing about auton is that it always is implemented because its at the start and you can’t really counter it without dedicating functionality on a robot. If you make wall bot that prevents robot from entering end game area then is that viable?
  6. This is where phrasing is killing me, Auton is in theory “guaranteed points” at the start of the match. This just makes sense. Having a starting platform to form all plays off of makes sense. You come out with an immediate sense of what needs to done. Clean up the missed shot from auton that was a start. You might end up with a standoff game wise where both teams just wait to see what the other does and that would be boring.

I’m kinda flustered when it comes to phrasing right now so if anything doesn’t make sense then by all means.

To be fair I should have said the auton is moved to post game.

I won’t pick apart your opinions, nor will I discount them. We all have them.

So, here are a couple of my thoughts on both removing the End Game and removing the Autonomous Period.

Let’s start with the End Game.
While I really like how Areal Assist played out to the last second of every match without having to choose whether you needed to stop playing and move to the End Game, I must say, I miss the End Game.
In fact, I missed it so much that when we hosted the Capital City Classic a couple weeks ago, I convinced our team to introduce an End Game.
We placed the Big Ball from 2008 on top of the truss at the beginning of each match. If it ended up on either end of the field at the end of the match, the team who’s end it was on gained a 20 point bonus. Let’s just say, it made for some exciting strategy and game play.

Now for Autonomous.
To me, the robots we build and use in FRC are not fully robots except during the Autonomous period. The rest of the time they are robotic devices. I mean no disrespect with this comment. Some of the robots I’ve seen over the last 11 years are nothing short of EXTRAORDINARY!
Consider difference between a robot that sits still and doesn’t move in the Autonomous period and one that scores the maximum points possible, by it’s self (Think 254) . One takes no effort at all, the other takes time, skill, practice, hope, despair, thinking, planning, and execution.
I would hope to NEVER see the Autonomous period removed!
That said, I like the modifications that take place from year to year. As an example, a 10 seconds Autonomous period this year. I would even like to possibly see it moved to another phase of the match.

Ever consider an “Autonomous End Game”?

I came back after I posted this read through and clarified as I normally do, what I should have said is autonomous end game. One thing I should put out there though is safety zones are a must if Autonomous was in the end game otherwise damage on robot would be ridiculous.
I like the idea that the very last second of the match what could determine who wins is out of your control and in the hands of the code. Putting all your faith in your machine at the end of a match. I dunno I am just rambling at this point but GDC if you can hear me, just consider it sometime. I wouldn’t want the autonomous removed ever I just wanted to get this idea out there so I can get feedback on how crazy I really am.

I wouldn’t say you’re crazy. As it turns out, you and I are thinking very much the same thing. That’s not crazy, that’s BRILLIANT!

Let’s assume that the endgame is autonomous for a second. At 2:00 into the match, the robots all go into autonomous mode. What’s going to happen?

First, we’ll assume that not every robot is pointed the right way. Scoring for your opponent is never a good idea–it’s often difficult to tell which side is which (from the robot’s view). (Well, almost never–but let’s just assume that those games never happened for a while.)

Second, that first result assumes that every team HAS a working automode. I’d go into what happens when you assume, but that’s kind of beyond the point. There are going to be a lot of obstacles on the field–robots that aren’t moving, unscored game objects, etc.

Third, robots are going to need to aim. This means targets (on the field) and targeting systems (on the robots), including rangefinders. Guess what tends to not happen every. single. year.? That’s right, a lot of dead reckoning and not a lot of advanced targeting systems. Many teams are lucky to get a camera feed working. DUCK!

Given that set of items, I foresee the following if ever the auto portion is moved to the endgame:

  • Half of the robots won’t even try.
  • Of the rest of the robots, maybe another half will have some attempt.
  • That set gets safety violations multiple times.
  • A FEW elite teams (Poofs, Wildstang, Simbotics, and some of the others of that caliber) develop and use very good automodes.

Of course, I’m assuming here that the GDC doesn’t award many points for auto working. There better be LOTS of points on the table if they do try putting automode at the end, enough that teams HAVE to do it to win.

I’m not going into the possible decisions they could be making. I just trust that the GDC has enough foresight and intelligence to work around the problems given. Work around would be proper use of safezone.

Right. What I’m saying is, what happens if things don’t go the way the GDC expects? (Witness: 2013 Frisbee storm. 2014 refs-as-scorekeepers. 2014 Dead Ball. Bumper rules every year. 2010 ranking system and consequences. I could probably continue.)

So let’s say a robot can’t get into a safezone and does autonomous anyways–should be no problem at all, but what if it hits the other three that weren’t in their safezones and damages them inside frame perimeter? Or a robot that would ordinarily be well clear of the safezone has a malfunction and is crippled or mostly crippled right next to or in the opponents’ safezone–and executes its automode before it can be E-stopped, hitting one or more robots/game objects/field elements. (Say, a Dlink reboot or something of that nature.)

I think my point is this: If the endgame is executed autonomously, the rewards had better be worth it, and all the random cases of something going wrong need to be accounted for, and NOT solely by penalties! (Translation: It needs to be designed assuming a 50th percentile robot/alliance instead of the 75th to 90th that the GDC seems to have assumed for certain items this year–but be worth enough to make the 90th percentile go for it despite the challenge.)

In a way I envy the GDC I love coming up with games and activities and workshops. The pressure they must feel having to account for all the variables out and about must be insane. Moving auton to post tele op is risky of course but there are always risks. Whats worse is that despite the amount of risks I am sure everyone is willing to post their 2 cents on “Feedback” be it constructive or not.
I feel like they might try it I never thought they would get rid of end game yet they did that last year. GDC is just a bag of unexpected challenges we are all eager to overcome.

I would love it (which should come as no surprise), but the challenge is always to balance the difficulty vs. reward curve. You want to award some points for just moving in a quasi controlled way (an achievable goal for 95% of FRC teams), while encouraging teams to go above and beyond with clever programming or use of sensors. FIRST has done a good job of doing this in recent years and I hope that streak continues.

Endgame auto mode would only work IMO if there were safe zones throughout the match (or areas that became safe zones X seconds before auto engages). Moreover, any team should be allowed to E-stop at any time during an end-game auto, since there are so many more variables at the end of the match and you should NEVER be punished for being ambitious. (For that matter, I would love to be able to E-stop beginning of match auto modes as well :)).

Right off the bat I think of the balancing bridge end game. That would have been possible as an end game auton its just that drivers would need to practice being aware of the timers before the end starts, and they would need to practice the perfect positioning normally granted to them by having a pre-tele op auton.
Really my biggest concern though is that the reason why pre-tele op auton “feels” safe is you control the starting variables. Even then though there have been some failures during auton I have seen on my team. There is no doubt about it though that safety would be a major priority.

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