Team Update #13

Team Update #13 is posted on the eve of competition.

A Trackball scoring mod.
Refs will wait for the balls to come to rest before scoring them.
Robots are still scored at the buzzer.

This new rule is a bit iffy. You can literally have a push at the last second that could make or break a regional. The ball could theoretically roll around far enough that it can score itself twice after the buzzer has sounded (hurdle, knocked around, roll under).

One word fittingly describes this: meh.

I am very happy with this rule change. Now it is not a judgement call as to how much of the ball if any was over the line at the buzzer.

The question that I have is, will balls put into motion by whatever auto release mechanisms that teams have for the end of the match be counted if scored?

Aka. If team XXXX has the trackball elevated above the over pass and is programed to release their gripper at t=0 and the ball drops and bounces over the overpass will it count?

-Simon Strauss

I do like this rule, it’s kind of like a buzzer beater in basketball. The one thing that I dont like though is this will help hurdler robots the most. If they get in their homezone they can just press a button and shoot. It will not help arm/elevator bots as much, however it could still help them in a last second put on the overpass attempt when the ball rolls off. They then could get points for the hurdle. It is a good change, however I think it helps the shooters the most, and I dont think they are the ones who need helping.

Not sure you have that right, <G11> seems to indicate that the 8 points for the hurdle are composed of 2 for crossing the line and 6 for going over. So I’m thinking they wouldn’t count it twice.


I thought this terrible rule was going to sit for the competition season, now an arm bot that is attempting to place on their overpass and misses at least can get the points for the hurdle, and hopefully we’ll see some awesome buzzer beating shots from shooter bots.


Dont think of it as 6 and 2. It just gets confused and I think they took that out in an update. Just know that a hurdle is worth 8 points. That said what I think Scott means is a ball is hurdled at a high velocity, hits the floor, rolls all the way around the track and back across the finish line. Although it may be possible, I dont think it will happen because it would need to be moving pretty well to go that far. Even if it could go far enough, there are still 6 robots on the field and odds are the ball would hit one of them before rolling around the field.

Not to be nitpicky and cause the release of update 13b tomorrow morning, but the “Not scored until at rest” language is only contained in G14. So I’m currently reading it as only applying to points scored off of placing the trackball at the end of the match. Admittedly, I can’t recall any recent year when a scoring object had the “scored when at rest” rule applied to it and it could score in so many different ways… but I thought the GDC usually added that kind of text as a separate rule to indicate it applied to all scoring modalities.

<G14> applies only to the 12-point bonus at the end of the game, as Kevin noted.

The text on page 2 of Update 13 is not part of the rule.

<G11> is the rule that gives points for hurdling. It does note a 2+6 score, but I think that is only so no one thinks the team should get 8 points for the hurdle plus 2 more for crossing.

You do get 8 points for the hurdle including the trackball going over the overpass for 6, then 2 for the trackball crossing the finish line. You then get an extra 2 points for the robot crossing under the overpass. You get 10 for the hurdle and the robot going under I’m not sure what you are saying but im trying to clarify.

Now on to the update.
It does say only G14 which is placung at the end, but if it rolls of would they score it as a hurdle because the trackball scores when it lays at rest. The way I see it, it should count a hurdle, but its confusing because its only in G14. I’m wondering if they just made this rule so that if a trackball gets thrown up at the end of the match, and when the clock hits 0 it is on the overpass, but rolls off right after. Maybe they made this update to take away scores instead of making it easier?
I guess i’m confused because I could see it both ways

This update is quite interesting to me, since I posed this question during Week 2 of build season. The GDC was quite clear in stating scoring would stop at the final buzzer; this update reverses that thinking.
I still think they should extend it to the end of the hybrid period as well, and not just the match.

Personally I think this should be scored like most other games, where the score is not determined until the field and robots come to rest. Everyone remembers the bots with the shooters that had enough inertia in their shooting wheels to shoot balls for at least a few seconds after power was cut.

We actually had this argument today with our mentor and it looks like we were right on the ball but wrong on the bots, oh well but 50% ain’t to bad

Regarding the change to <G14>. The GDC has added these comments after <G14>:

Referee calls:

In reference to the <G14> rule change, referees will make the calls as follows: determine the scores contributed by the Robots based on where they are when the clock reaches zero, determine the scores contributed by the trackballs based on where they are when the clock reaches zero – unless they are in unrestrained motion (i.e. not in contact with a Robot) at the time, in which case determine the score based on when they come to rest.

To me this is very clear. <G14> Starts out by talking about "When the MATCH ends, " Then it talks about a trackball supported by the overpass and the 12 points. Then it talks about trackball being in unrestrained motion and that the trackball scores will not be counted until the trackball comes to rest. There is no doubt in my mind that a rolling trackball will get 2 points for crossing its’ finish line and a trackball flying through the air or being droped by an arm bot over an alliances overpass will get 8 points if it hits the floor or another robot before it touches the robot that released it. I usually agree with Kevin and Gary, I think this may be a first when I don’t. No where in the change or the referee calls comments does it specify trackballs supported by the overpass. <G14> applies to when the MATCH ends. And the GDC has now added how we are supposed to treat trackballs that are in motion when the buzzer sounds. Why would they even mention the scores contributed by the robots in the referee calls section if they only intended the rule to apply to placing a trackball on the overpass?

It really doesn’t matter to me either way. I still see difficult judgement calls either way. However, waiting to score the trackballs until they stop moving seems to be more consistant with FIRST. The action that caused the trackball to move was initiated before the buzzer.

The question that I have is, will balls put into motion by whatever auto release mechanisms that teams have for the end of the match be counted if scored?

Aka. If team XXXX has the trackball elevated above the over pass and is programed to release their gripper at t=0 and the ball drops and bounces over the overpass will it count?

I don’t think they would score this because when the clock reaches zero the ball was still in contact with the trackball whether it released it or not.

I wish they would apply the ‘coming to rest’ for the robots also. Last year we could keep lifting after the buzzer sounded because we opened our air valves and dumped all our air into our cyclinders. If this rule was in place last year we wouldn’t have scored so well :frowning:
I wonder if they will apply this rule for hybrid/autonomous period?

Alibi brings up good points. It all depends on if the new second sentence in <G14> applies just to <G14>, or if it applies to all the trackball scoring rules. This should generate some good discussion in the meetings with the head refs this morning.

One potential problem: Suppose Red has placed one of their Trackballs on their own Overpass and it is not in motion. A Blue shooter flings their Trackball just as the clock hits zero. The Blue Trackball displaces the Red trackball from the Overpass (in a counterclockwise direction), and comes to rest on the Overpass. Under <G14>, the Blue Trackball now counts for 12 points. But what happened to the Red Trackball? It wasn’t restrained by a robot, but it wasn’t in motion either. Choices are
(1) 12 points for Red, because it was not in motion at the time the clock hit zero
(2) 8 points for Red, because when the Trackball came to rest it had completed a Hurdle
(3) 0 points for Red, because the Trackball was not in motion at the time the clock hit zero so it doesn’t count as a Hurdle, and because it was not on the Overpass when it came to rest.

In my interpretation of the INTENT of the rule change (everyone knows the GDC wants us to think about intent of rules and not just lawyering the exact terminology), would lead me to believe 8 pts for red, as their ball was influenced by a ball in “unrestrained” motion at the end of the match.

I’m stunned and impressed that you managed to think up a reasonably plausible situation that actually covers every possible interpretation of the rule.

Also, a point I haven’t seen considered yet. What does this rules update imply for trackball scoring at the end of the hybrid period? A removed trackball counts 8 points if it’s not touching the overpass. Is that also an instantaneous decision or will that also be a wait and see decision? I think this actually argues for the universal interpretation of the wait and see clause and against the interpretation of Gary and me. At least, I think it would make more sense to universally apply the wait and see clause. So I think it’s exceedingly odd for the GDC to have added a universal clause to the tail end of just one rule, but I will not be at all surprised if it’s interpreted as universal and the GDC releases a later update accusing Gary and I of rules lawyering and general obtuseness.

The more I think of it, the more I believe it will be a general concept, at least for the end of the game. I don’t know what principle will be applied at the end of hybrid. I base this on the two bullet points in the Update (but which are not part of the Rule). It says “in reference to the <G14> rule change” and then the first bullet point discusses robot scoring, which has nothing to do with <G14>. Granted, it says that the change in <G14> does not make a change in any of the robot scoring rules. But then the second bullet point addresses “scores contributed by Trackballs” - scores in general, not scores specific to <G14>.

I guess we shall have to wait and see how it turns out. Maybe some of those people who are busy competing today will get on later and tell us how this was interpreted. And hopefully it will be a universal interpretation, not a regional-by-regional one. My guess, with the timing of this Update on Thursday instead of Friday, was that this came up in a conference call between the head refs, and the GDC realized they had to get it out in time for today’s competitions.

I do not have much time, however, what is more important is how it is being called today during the qualification matches. Does anyone have a report from the competition? I love the GDC, but, rule changes on the eve of a competition, especially when a direct Q&A previously posted and answered was exactly opposite? I’ll be happy as long as which ever way this ends up, as long as everyone is on the same page. Still love you guys!