Fuel Balancing

You make some very excellent points here that are absolutely worth reading. However, you still don’t have me convinced. If someone had made these good of arguments during week 1 of build I might have considered supporting a change, but it is just too late now. I would be extremely upset if the point values were changed now.

As someone whose team spent a large amount of time and energy on fuel, and who personally was deeply involved in that effort, I actually don’t think GDC should change the point values of fuel. Teams designed robots for the challenge they were presented at kickoff, and to fundamentally change that challenge after build season ended would be unfair. While I spent a lot of time working on devices for handling fuel, that was a decision made by me and my team. No one forced us to do it, and no one forced any of you to do it either. We were all handed the same manual at kickoff, and we all made our own strategic decisions about how to build our robots. We are each responsible for how we chose to design our robots.

That was an argument for what GDC should do. As for what they will do, I’d be inclined to think they wouldn’t change the point value of fuel, in part for the sake of fairness to the teams, but also because it would cause people to lose trust in FIRST.

There is also speculation about whether or not GDC intended for the game to be like this, with a number of people saying fuel was always meant to just be a factor for the best teams/at the championship level/on Einstein. I’d be inclined to disagree for these three reasons:

  1. This part of Andrew_L’s excellent writeup. (He never explicitly assumes anything about what GDC intended, so I don’t want to imply that he did. These are his words, but I am the one who is using them to speculate):
  1. If fuel really was just intended to be a tie-breaker for the highest tier of teams in the world, why would there be a low goal? I really don’t see why GDC would include a low goal if fuel was not meant to be useful to the average team.

  2. The fact that a number of events received incomplete field sets, and that complete field sets were apparently a nightmare to assemble, demonstrates that FIRST is not infallible and made what we already know to be a major mistake with this year’s game. This is not at all an attempt to deride FIRST; they have done an outstanding job with the vast majority of things, and on the occasions where they do make mistakes, they are open about what happened and address the problem to the very best of their ability and in a timely manner, as they did last weekend in regard to yellow cards from pilots reaching outside the airship (another example this year of things not going the way FIRST had planned).

If the current balancing of fuel really is a mistake (which is just speculation), it’s easy to understand why GDC made the decision it did. We’ve seen just how quickly teams like 125 and 118 can fire fuel. If GDC had accidentally overvalued fuel, it would result in just a few teams trouncing the rest of the competition, whereas undervaluing fuel actually results in more parity than usual. While neither of those two scenarios are ideal (as they both result in a more boring game and wasted resources), it makes sense GDC would lean more towards the latter end of that spectrum.

So that’s just my two cents. In the end, I think we’ll just have to wait and see how the game changes over time.

On an unrelated, but important, note:

I agree with you that fuel can be an obstacle, but using it intentionally as an obstacle would be a violation of G21, which reads “GAME PIECES: use as directed. ROBOTS may not deliberately use GAME PIECES, e.g. GEARS, in an attempt to ease or amplify the challenge associated with other FIELD elements, e.g. BOILERS, HOPPERS, or ROPES.”

I don’t think the GDC can or wants to change the value of Fuel at this point (there would be a revolt).

It occured to me today, fuel is not about the points. The GDC dangled the RP carrot out to get fuel scored. the only reason to go for fuel at this point is the RP.

However at week 1 (and likely through week 3) events, this RP is not worth the opportunity cost of possibly losing the match (netting you only 1 RP instead of 2). Once teams are confident that they can win the match on 3 rotors and 3 climbs, get some auto fuel and have a little time left over to wrap up the 40kPa, then we will start seeing RP results in the 2-1, 3-0, 3-1, and such ranges.

For those of you saying FIRST can’t change the scoring rules remember that they can increase the amount of pre-populated gears for District-Champs and Half-Champs. That would devalue gears and put a an emphasis on fuel. Plus, FIRST gave themselves the ability to make the change in the manual. As far as I can recall there was no large scale protest or rebellion last year when the capture requirements were changed.

I am interested in how this discussion will change in the following weeks. I really hope that an incentive to use fuel will show up soon.

^^^^This! 1000X this! The game is boring to watch, and worse, it’s hidden behind bulky field elements that block your view. What a confusing mess!

(1) I’ve learned a lot about interesting engineering by watching how robots deal with fuel, even if I only ever see that on reveal videos.

(2) There does seem to be a poor tradeoff between (a) the degree that fuel affects the game result and (b) the headache it is to deal with all the fuel on the floor.

(3) Any calculation on shooting also has to take into account rule G22, which penalizes fuel that leaves the game field. (It has to be “intentional” to count as a foul, but that seems completely in the discretion of the refs.) Make 15 shots but five go wild and you could be net -20.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve seen the 2012-2014 period defined as the “golden era” of FRC game design. Let’s take a glance at 2012 for a moment.

Point value of a double balance: 20 points
Point value of a triple balance: 40 points (eliminations only)
Week 1 average qualification scores: <20 points
Week 1 average elimination scores: <40 points

Thanks for the bingo square

FIRST can do whatever they want. They did #2champz without asking for permission - it’s their program, they call the shots. When VEX finds a flaw in the game, they just fix it and move on. Sure some teams get mad over it, but at the end of the day the game plays better than it would have without the fix. FIRST has just as much power, and can exercise it however they choose to.

There is no “can” and “cannot”, there is only what FIRST thinks is best for its program as a whole.

As Commander Spock once said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, but FIRST gets to choose who is who. Time will tell who FIRST decides is the many, and who is the few. Until then, there’s no harm in some healthy, objective conversation.

I could be wrong but this quote totally rhymes like a Dr. Suess book.

Jon if you come to CVR I’ll introduce a match of your choosing like a Dr. Seuss book.

“Here we have three teams on blue”
“Oh, would you look, all three can climb too!”
“My, now take a gander at red and those fancy who-do-whatsits”
“It appears they are armed with fizzbangs and bing-dads and tid-bits”

Now, if you can game announce an entire match in Seussian rhyme, you got yourself a deal :smiley:

How about you rap a match as game announcer? #ripCCC2016

G15. Be careful about what you grab on to. DRIVE TEAMS, ROBOTS, and OPERATOR CONSOLES are prohibited from the following actions with regards to interaction with ARENA elements.
Items A and B exclude DRIVE TEAM interaction with FIELD elements in their areas.
Item C excludes use of the PLAYER STATION hook-and-loop tape, plugging in to the provided power outlet, and plugging the provided Ethernet cable in to the OPERATOR CONSOLE.
Items A-E exclude GAME PIECES.
Items A-G exclude ROPES installed on an ALLIANCE’S AIRSHIP.
Items A-H exclude a ROBOT’S interaction with a Team supplied ROPE that doesn’t litter the FIELD.
A. Grabbing
B. Grasping
C. Attaching to (including the use of hook-and-loop tape against the FIELD carpet)
D. Grappling
E. Hanging
F. Deforming*
G. Becoming entangled
H. Damaging
Violation: If prior to MATCH, and situation can be corrected quickly, it must be remedied before
the MATCH will start. If during a MATCH, FOUL. If during a MATCH and extended or repeated,
YELLOW CARD. If offense is via a ROBOT and the Head REFEREE determines that further
damage is likely to occur, offending ROBOT will be DISABLED. Corrective action (such as
eliminating sharp edges, removing the damaging MECHANISM, and/or re-Inspection) may be
required before the ROBOT will be allowed to compete in subsequent MATCHES.

Definition of deform
transitive verb
1: to spoil the form of
2a : to spoil the looks of : disfigure a face deformed by bitterness
2b : to mar the character of a marriage deformed by jealousy
3: to alter the shape of by stress

Good news everybody! A literal reading of G15 with definition #3 means that it’s illegal for robots to hang gears on the LIFT peg springs.

Fuel is balanced, as it is the only way to legally score. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think there is little to know chance that they will change the value of fuel, as major design decision were based around the scoring they set out. (I do feel this is one of the most imbalanced scoring games I’ve seen in a while).

I’m going to go a bit out on a limb and make a guess at what may have happened.

I believe somewhere in the design of this game a certain amount of fuel was required to get rotors turning (along with gear). This adds a TON of value to scoring fuel without needing to actually increase how much fuel is worth. At some point along the way it was determined that this was either too complicated or too difficult for teams to achieve and the 2 major scoring elements (gears and fuel) were de-coupled. HOWEVER, they never increased the value of fuel to make it commensurate with scoring gears.

As a side note, I think requiring fuel to get rotors turning would make this a much more interesting game from a strategic point of view.

Agreed. As has been said before, why are the airships flying with no source of power?

Spinning rotors + no fuel or pressure + climbed robots = lifted off robots?

No rotors + fuel and pressure + climbed robots = lifted off robots?

Spinning rotors + fuel and pressure + no climbed robots = lifted off robots?

:confused: :confused: :confused:

it’s an airship race, so robots should just slow down the airship with more robots ready for liftoff?

I really don’t need to explain to you how FRC and VEX are different, how the fact that VEX is year-round, bagless, smaller-scale, and relatively cheap means that teams actually have an opportunity to react to the rule update and change (or even remake) their robots, whereas this is not at all the case for the FRC ruleset* and scale. This is exactly why FIRST shouldn’t change the scoring balance.

*“That’s another problem with FRC blah blah blah” let’s not go there, they’re not changing those rules midseason either