Author Topic: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule  (Read 4831 times)

MikeNCR

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Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« on: April 09, 2015, 06:12:18 pm »
Rules as written:
Quote
4.2.4. No Wedges. Sides of a bot within 1 inch of the floor must be perpendicular to the floor. If your bot can drive in multiple positions (i.e. inverted), your bot must comply in each of these positions. Unusually shaped bots that do not meet the letter of this rule, but that do not contain wedge-like surfaces may be allowed on a case by case basis.
    4.2.4.1. While a large plate extending from the bot that is flat or nearly flat to the floor such as in the bots Alf or Zok may satisfy the rule as described above, it will also not be allowed. This or any other static device which has the purpose of removing the opponent's wheels from the arena floor is not allowed.
    4.2.4.2. You must also use care when designing your weapon so that the weapon does not violate the no wedge rule. A weapon which requires a small slope below 1 inch or a small plate that is flat to the floor in order to function will be allowed at the discretion of the officials.
    4.2.4.3. Example: A lifter, flipper, or clamping weapon.
    4.2.4.4. However this must be kept within reason.
    4.2.4.5. Example: A lifter with an actuated wedge-like surface that extends for a significant portion of the bot's width will not be allowed.
4.2.5. Lifting, Flipping and Grabbing Weapons. An articulated “spatula”, parallel to the floor is allowed, provided that it complies with the “no wedge” rule. (4.2.4)

The main goal of this discussion is to come up with an update to the rules such that there isn't a need for bots to be approved on a case by case basis while still preserving the overall goal of the sportsman class-

Quote
The intent of the Sportsman Class is to encourage novel designs and driving ability. The focus of this class is fun and creativity, not the annihilation of your opponent. Robots must comply with both the letter and spirit of these rules to qualify for this class.

So, how do we define wedge vs. not wedge.

Bots like Uberclocker, LockJaw, Gigarange, Nyx, and most other flippers are all flirting with the edges of the rules as written and could, depending on who is interpreting them, be considered in violation of the rule.

Some initial thoughts:

Static and powered plates/wedges/etc(hereafter referred to as wedge-like surfaces) fall under different design requirements.
Specific, measurable limits to the width and thickness of wedge-like surfaces.
Minimum spacing between wedge-like surfaces to not count as a single, wider wedge-like surface

Potential definitions for a banned Wedge-like Surface:
Unpowered wedge at any width or unpowered flat plane consisting of elements greater than 6" in combined width.
  • Combined width is defined as the total width of elements of the same system that have less than 8" of spacing between the outer two most elements of the system - For example, two prongs of a fork that are 1" wide each, spaced with a 6" gap would have an 8" combined width and would thus be illegal. If the spacing were 4" instead, the combined width would be 6" and therefore legal.
Unpowered flat plane elements must be in some way necessary to the functionality of the weapon system.
  • The forks on LockJaw, which are a required structural element of the crusher would be legal. Additionally, outriggers like on Nyx or Uberclocker would be legal as they are spaced more than 8" apart and as such only have their individual widths counted.
The sum of all combined widths may not exceed 6".
  • You can have a single 6" combined width element, two 3" combined width elements, or 3 2" combined width elements, however you can't have 2 combined width elements of any size greater than 3" each.
Flat plane style attachments may not be more than 1" tall for the portion of their length that is likely to interact with other robots.

Powered wedge-like elements fall under the same restrictions with the following alterations:
  • The maximum combined width for powered flat plane elements is 10"
  • The spacing for determining combined width is 10"
  • Actuated spikes or similar objects that when at rest on the ground result in a greater than 10deg. angle may be a maximum of 1" wide.
  • The sum of the width of all actuated spikes may not exceed 1".

If you can think of any loopholes or suggestions, post them. The numbers above are more for illustration than specific proposed values.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 10:18:49 pm by MikeNCR »

jiocca

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2015, 08:06:12 pm »
I have been trying to think of new way to say this but I really haven't come up with anything better.

If the point of the weapon is to passively remove the wheels of the target robot from the floor using only the forward momentum of either robot then it is not in the spirit of the class.
If the point of the wedge like surface is to support the base of the target robot so that the weapon system can be properly deployed and thus whether or not the target robots wheels are in contact with the ground is of no consequence.

For example the point of lockjaws forks are to allow him to crush you. If a target robot has moderate ground clearance and its wheels still reach while on its forks his weapon system can still be deployed to full effect. The same goes for Clocker, having big wheels that reach through his forks wont help you when he picks you up.

Now obviously there is a practical upper limit to this but I'm just trying to capture why these robots were allowed and why others like the original Nyx and shish-kabot were eventually asked to redesign.


AlexH

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2015, 10:38:21 am »
It is my understanding that NERC let me run with Shish-Kabot because someone took pity on the stupid 14 year old who built a robot that was too bad to be an open 30 and not quite sportsman compliant. That then set the precedent for Nyx. I was never specifically told to redesign but I was getting a "go build something better" vibe from people in NERC



If the point of the weapon is to passively remove the wheels of the target robot from the floor using only the forward momentum of either robot then it is not in the spirit of the class.

Is something like Power of Metal's thresher passive in this definition? It requires no driver input beyond turning it on to operate

MikeNCR

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2015, 11:31:46 am »
It is my understanding that NERC let me run with Shish-Kabot because someone took pity on the stupid 14 year old who built a robot that was too bad to be an open 30 and not quite sportsman compliant. That then set the precedent for Nyx. I was never specifically told to redesign but I was getting a "go build something better" vibe from people in NERC



If the point of the weapon is to passively remove the wheels of the target robot from the floor using only the forward momentum of either robot then it is not in the spirit of the class.

Is something like Power of Metal's thresher passive in this definition? It requires no driver input beyond turning it on to operate

Passive would be best read as an unpowered system (ie, no motors/pneumatics/etc... causing the thing to move)

Travis7s

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2015, 01:15:43 pm »
Although we have somewhat abandoned the class, SCRC wanted to lighten the restrictions but we didn't want to get super technical on what was allowed and what wasn't so we modified the rule to allow 1 wedge/spatula, no restrictions. I believe we had also decided that any pushing/ramming without the use of a weapon would not count for any points whatsoever. The main thing is the "intent" rule, its pretty obvious when somebody is exploiting a loophole, make it clear that they will not be allowed to play if its questionable.

Here is an example of a robot that made use of the modified rule, for some reason i never took any pictures of it when it was built:


jiocca

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 08:51:01 am »
Addressing it as a scoring issue is an interesting thought. The issue I guess would be if someone manages a knockout by ramming then a modified scoring system wouldn't help.

Jim

MikeNCR

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2015, 05:59:53 pm »
Addressing it as a scoring issue is an interesting thought. The issue I guess would be if someone manages a knockout by ramming then a modified scoring system wouldn't help.

Jim

I don't know if there's really a need for alterations to how things are scored. Damage, control and aggression still work well, even if it's a bit harder to completely sweep the damage category.

MikeNCR

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2015, 02:27:51 pm »
I'll be writing up a proposal for new wording for the Sportsman rules in the coming weeks. If anyone has any other input, please post it soon.

Edit: I may write up a few competing proposals
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 04:22:56 pm by MikeNCR »

MikeNCR

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2015, 08:38:44 pm »
I decided to write up two differing approaches to the Sportsman class wedge restrictions. One approach is very numbers centric, spelling out very explicit limitations to what is and isn't legal. The other set is much more open from a design standpoint but adjusts a few elements of how the result of a match is determined in an attempt to achieve the goals of the class.

Wordy, Numbers Specific Rules Version:

Quote
4.2.4. Wedge Restrictions
   4.2.4.1   Unpowered wedges at any width or an unpowered flat plane consisting of elements greater than 6” combined width are not allowed
      4.2.4.1.1   Combined width is defined as the total width of elements of the same system that have less than 8" of spacing between the outer two most elements of the system - For example, two prongs of a fork that are 1" wide each, spaced with a 6" gap would have an 8" combined width and would thus be illegal. If the spacing were 4" instead, the combined width would be 6" and therefore legal.
      4.2.4.1.2   You can have a single 6" combined width element, two 3" combined width elements, or 3 2" combined width elements, however you can't have 2 combined width elements of any size greater than 3" each.
      4.2.4.1.3   Unpowered flat plane elements must be in some way necessary to the functionality of the weapon system.
         4.2.4.1.3.1   Forks like on LockJaw, which are a required structural element of the crusher would be legal. Additionally, outriggers like on Nyx or Uberclocker would be legal as they are spaced more than 8" apart and as such only have their individual widths counted.
      4.2.4.1.4   Flat plane style attachments may not be more than 1" tall for the portion of their length that is likely to interact with other robots.
   4.2.4.2   Powered wedge-like elements fall under the same restrictions with the following alterations:
      4.2.4.2.1   The maximum combined width for powered flat plane elements is 10".
      4.2.4.2.2   The spacing for determining combined width is 10".
      4.2.4.2.3   Actuated spikes or similar objects that when at rest on the ground result in a greater than 10deg. angle may be a maximum of 1" wide.
      4.2.4.2.4   The sum of the width of all actuated spikes may not exceed 1".

More Open Rules Version:

Quote
4.2.4. Wedge Restrictions
   4.2.4.1   Robots may only have a wedge or wedge-like surface present on one side of their body in any standard operating position.
   4.2.4.2   Wedges or wedge-like elements must be integral to the function of the weapon system.
      4.2.4.2.1   Weapons that are not functionally hindered by the use of forks or other flat-plane elements will not be allowed to use wedge plates.
   4.2.4.3   For the purposes of judging interaction with the opposing robot that does not involve the use of the active weapon system will not count toward “control” scoring so long as the robot has an operational active weapon.
   4.2.4.4   The loss of function of the active weapon system on a robot is classified as major damage and will be scored as such no matter the scale of the active weapon.
   4.2.4.5   Drivers that repeatedly avoid using their robots active weapon system when in a position to do so will receive a verbal warning from the referee. If the behavior continues they referee may disqualify them.

More Open Rules Version Without Judging Criteria Tweaks:

Quote
4.2.4. Wedge Restrictions
   4.2.4.1   Robots may only have a wedge or wedge-like surface present on one side of their body in any standard operating position.
   4.2.4.2   Wedges or wedge-like elements must be integral to the function of the weapon system.
      4.2.4.2.1   Weapons that are not functionally hindered by the use of forks or other flat-plane elements will not be allowed to use wedge plates.
   4.2.4.3   The loss of function of the active weapon system on a robot is classified as major damage and will be scored as such no matter the scale of the active weapon.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 01:14:51 pm by MikeNCR »

jiocca

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2015, 09:28:32 pm »
I'm not really a fan of either of those.
I feel like you are closer with the simplified rules though.   
I still feel strongly that we would need to convey that a sportsman robot should be focused on the weapon and not on the drivetrain. Weapons that are effective with a weak or slow drive train are very desirable. I don't want to limit the power of drive trains as fast bots are more entertaining but I feel like that is more the point of the sportsman class in my mind.  The weapon should be effective even if the drive train is not. Flippers, large range of motion lifters, crushers, hammers, saws, drills all effective with a weak drive train.  Slow Lifting threshers, short reach lifters are not what I want to see in the class. This is only my opinion but its where I'm at.

My issues with the judges deciding matches where a "wedgie" bot slams it opponent around the arena for three minutes and loses is not going to make much sense to an audience.  And if a powerful "wedgie" bot manages to KO an opponent through box rushes then it won't make much difference what the judges say.  Having them forfeit the match  is another thing that wont make much sense to the audience.

Jim


MikeNCR

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2015, 08:59:43 pm »
Based on some additional feedback, here's the current thought for the wedge restrictions-

Quote
4.2.4. Wedge Restrictions
   4.2.4.1   Robots may only have a wedge or wedge-like surface present on one side of their body in any standard operating position.
   4.2.4.2   Wedges or wedge-like elements must be integral to the function of the weapon system.

FingerTech

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Re: Removing Ambiguity from the Sportsman No-Wedge Rule
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2015, 04:41:50 am »
It's simple and to the point.  I'd be for trying it and seeing how it goes.
Kurtis Wanner
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