Human Player: Past, Present and Future

Now that all the regional events are over and everyone has had a chance to watch this year’s competition in action, what are your thoughts on the role of the human player in Triple Play?

Also, what did you think the role of the human player this year compared with that of previous years?

2002: – Zone Zeal.
Human player scored small balls by “shooting” them over the player-station wall into moveable goals (both robot and HP could score balls).

2003: – Stack Attack.
Human player placed up to 4 bins on the floor prior to the beginning of the match.

2004 – FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar.
Human player scored small balls by “shooting” them over the player-station wall into the stationary or moveable goals (only HP could score small balls).

2005 – Triple Play.
Human player can load one tetra at a time onto his/her team’s robot while the robot is in the appropriate loading zone. Human player may not touch the robot except with the tetra.

Now for some serious questions :smiley: :

What do you think the role of the human player should be in the coming years of the FRC?

Considering all of the discussion regarding penalties this year, do you think that FIRST should continue to incorporate a human player element into each year’s game *if it means that there must also be “safety-related” penalties * (like this year’s 30-point penalty)?

Bearing in mind the role played by the human player this year and in past years, as well as the role of robots in the real world, do you think there ought to be a human player element in future FRC games at all?


If the HP is included in later years, I think that the job should mostly be throwing balls into goals, hoppers, or whatever crazy thing FIRST comes up with. Loading things onto robots is too risky in terms of safety.

I think the Human player role is a very important and valuable one for this years competition. Our team is basically focused around the human player because He is tall and can reach high to place the tetra.

I think that this helps us cap a lot faster then the auto load station because we do not have to raise our arm any higher.

I also think that it is very important to have a good drive team and without some kind of interaction between players and the robots other then controlling the robot i feel that the involvement in FIRST wouldn’t be as entertaining. I loved watching all the human player run around placing tetras.
I think it adds another aspect to the game and makes it that much more enjoyable

In terms of safety i do feel that this years game may be a little more dangerous then past years but i think FIRST has done a good job enforcing penalties for any dangerous activity to prevent injuries.

While loading may be dangerous, it seems best if the HP has the ability to either
a) interact with the robot in some form
b)still play a major part in the match without being able to score points

The role of the HP still needs to be important in the future, as it helps show the ability of robots and humans to interact. It also allows for less advanced teams to still have the ability to remain mildly competative. Although Im in favor of the HP still remaining a key part of the match, I dont feel the HP should have the ability to score directly. That may be too much of a role of the HP and it will reduce the role of the robot in the match, which in turn reduces the engineering education.
Example: last year when the HP was the ONLY way to score balls, teams would have their HP (and sometimes 1 or 2 back-ups) spend a majority, or even the entirety of meeting practicing shooting. If they’re practicing shooting, they arnt learning about the robot and helping build/program it are they? When the role of a HP gets to be too large or too important it will not only reduce the role and the importance of the robot to a very large extent, it will also reduce the learning process.

I like this year’s balance. In 2003, the Human Player had almost no importance, because what they did could be destroyed in a few seconds, and they were only involved for 10 seconds. In 2004, I felt that there was too much Human Player dependence. I could see where Dean was coming from in his reasoning, but I thought that there was an unequal weight (like us at SoCal - we had an outstanding Human Player, but almost no robot, and yet we made it to 20th seed when we probably should have been towards the bottom).

This year, the Human Players may or may not be used. Is there a safety issue? A little bit. Can other robots avoid this safety issue and be Graciously Proffesional? Yes. Could FIRST have included more safety features on their playing field? Probably, but hindsight is 20/20. The only issue I have is that a Human Player isn’t used on some teams. I hope that in future years, the Human Player balance is improved by keeping the same importance, but having all Human Players doing the same task.


I’ll just had some more history to the thread:

2001 - Coopertition.
Human Players scored small balls (similar to 2004) by shooting them over the player station into tall movable goals.

2000 - Don’t remember the name
Human Players scored balls (similar to 2004) by shooting them over the player station into stationary goals located in the middle of the field.

1999 - I’m not good with names
Human players loaded robots with ‘floppies’ in the ‘robot interaction zone’ (similar to the loading zone of 2005)

I liked the relationship created in the 2004 game between human and robot. The robot couldn’t score balls but the HP was not effective without a robot pushing more balls to shoot. This created a unique relationship between HP and robot to score points simulating a much similar role robots play in real world applications then a robot completely seperate from human interaction.


The role of the human player should be more limited (see Stack Attack, 2002).

Okay I voted for that option but I should mention that that really wasn’t a limited human player. If you think the human player was limited in 2003…then you should try 1996 on for size…they were seat belted in to their station and had to throw the ball over a 4’ high PVC structure in order to return it to the field. Frankly I’ve always been against the human player. This used to be around robots once upon a time folks!! It used to be that your robot couldn’t be considered a quality robot unless it could actually perform it’s functions on the field. There was a time way back when you couldn’t win an award for your autonomous program if it didn’t work. One of the reasons for the human player was to get more athletes involved in FIRST…someone provide me with actual evidence it has accomplished that goal. What has the addition of the human player done? Like it or not it started us down the slippery slope that lead to the significantly diminished role of the robot, engineering, design, and quality (both of the robot’s construction and play on the field) in FIRST that we now have. It seems today that as long as you have a good plan and robot on paper that is what is most important…never mind whether the robot ever plays in a single match. As long as you have a good business plan you are set, who cares if that business makes any money right??

I agree with DanielBCR. I thought last year’s game had too much HP involvement (this was the main feedback I got from casual game observers regarding last year’s game). This year has a good balance.

I’m Human Player for my team this year, so forgive me if i’m a bit biased =p. ** I think this year’s involvement was at the right level.** The HP is kept pretty active (as long as your team uses the manual loading station), but wasn’t the only scoring source like last year. I agree with the fact that the robot should be the one scoring points, not the human player, because this lowers the standard of the quality of the bot needed to succeed in the game. As for this year, the “safety issues” are not really issues as long as you know what you’re doing. The responsibility of the HP is to know the rules and know how to get their job done, safely. It really isn’t very hard to do. If being human player is causing you problems with safety, maybe you should analyze how you’re playing the game and come up with something new.

This is my first full year in FIRST and I think that the human player’s role is perfect in the game. They AIDE their robot to score, but they are not essential to winning the game. Many robots are great at using the auto-loading zone.

Their is a safety issue and FIRST has dealt with this, the 30-point penalty will prevent a team that wants to win from interferring with the robot while it is in the loading zone.

The only thing I dislike about this year’s human player is the pressure pad, they may have some issues from time to time.

I think that this year really does have the right level of HP involvement. The issue then becomes safety, but I think that can be resolved with some trick game design. (Suppose this year, instead of the LZ triangles, there were 3.5’ square corridors that only one robot at a time can enter to receive objects from the HP. You have the involvement, but it’s also out of the way at the same time.)

Some of your points are similar to mine, but I dont agree with you to the extreme you say. A HP is an essential part of the game, it raises the competitive level of the game and the teams. Many teams would acquire several penalties a game, or not be able to score at all if it werent for the HP. Even in a game designed not to include a HP you would still see a much greater seperation between the teams in terms of competitive level. The HP allows some teams which lack the funding, support, machine tools, or ability to construct amazing robots to at least win a few matches, or be somewhat competative on the playing field.
Sure, 2004’s HP was a bit excessive, and sure the robot’s quality decreased some. But the competitive level increased. You saw far less blow-out matches last year than this year (which has a lower HP involvement).
And even with that extreme HP role, there were still several amazing machines. Look at the works of art that many teams created. And those teams typically would end up winning the competitions, or come very close.

I’ll second that one. The involvement level is great this year, but it really is too risky. I personally almost had my eyes forked out by our arm when our robot was hit straight-on, towards me, at MWR (thank heavens for tennis reflexes and safety glasses from the Technokats!). The idea of an isolated loading station, like Billfred said, would be much appreciated!

I think that the role of the HP should be expanded. Although with the direction of technology and robotics going mroe and more autonomous, this is still a competition and a chance to have some fun and show off what you did in just six weeks. I think by having the 15 second auton mode and a HP that stands at a safe distance and scores for the alliance would b a good challenge. The role of the robot could be to position the goals or scoring zones into an acceptable distance for the HP to score. By incorporating a HP you are giving more people a chance to interact with technology as in the future, humans will have to interact with robots in order to acomplish tasks, and fix broken 'bots, well a HP could work WITH the bot to score and accomplish certain tasks, as well as additional tasks set by the HP and by the 'bot, like by saying, a certain position would be a certain number of points by the HP and a task as in hanging from the chin up bar to be assigned by the robot task, just try to keep the HP a part of the game as it adds an element to the game that is just fun and reliable.

Robot/human interactions are a fact of life. We have to interact with some kind of machine everyday. Including this interaction in the gameplay is simply adding another realworld element to the competitions.

We, as competitors, now have to take this interaction into account and include this in future designs.

Keep the human players. They add a degree of uncertainty to the game. After all, the machines can’t do wrong. :wink:

The level of HP-robot interaction will always be in flux, no matter what, and that’s because the game changes every year.

If we were stuck playing Triple Play every year until 2025, then the rules could be fine-tuned to the point where the front office is comfortable, and then it would stick, with changes being made only in the face of major shakeups (ie, changing it because someone got knocked out cold by a tetra blow to the head).

Thus, as you can see by the original post, the game the year after usually is on the other end of the spectrum in terms of HP involvement, and is probably a result of threads like this one, talk from the team forums, etc.

Remember: it has been proven that when someone likes a service, they tell on average 6 people, but when they don’t like a service, they tell 11 people about it…so the people that like the level of HP involvement will always be quieter than the people that don’t like it, causing the change into the other direction and for the opposite to occur.

I think the human player is a very important part of the game because it shows how humans and robots can work together. I do not think that the human player should have almost no importance in competition. The HP in Triple Play had a good amount of interaction because you didn’t have to use it, you could just use the automatic loading zone. That was my first year in robotics so I’m not too sure about years before that, but the game where you had to shoot balls into a goal, I didn’t like that too much because I think it involved too much skill needed by the human player in an aspect not really related to robotics. If you can shoot baskets, that’s great, but I think it was too dependent on the HP to make a lot of points during the game. So I think the level of dependence on the HP should stay as it was for Triple Play. :slight_smile:

My two cents

I like more human involvement to the degree of 2004, but would happily compromise with 2002.

  1. Both the robot and the human player can (in different ways) score, and more importantly what the robot does CAN counteract what the human does. Some people have said that the 50 point bonus was too much, but when the time came for Einstein, it was no longer too much. You HAD to score balls to win and you HAD to hang to win. It’s like football. Two players working on different things, working to achieve the common goal of winning.

BTW, should this be moved to the FRC Game Design forum?