Dominance of pushers at AWS46

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Andrew_Hibberd
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Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:10 pm

As most of you are aware the top three robots in the Antweight and Fleaweight events at AWS46 were pusher robots. Although this is the simplest approach to winning an antweight fight there does seem to be a reduction in the innovation of robots entering. This also includes a huge reduction in armour as there are less spinners being entered.

I am always impressed with how many robots turn out to the world series and would obviously like to see an increase in the number of people attending. My concern is that to progress the competition quickly in one day, leads to fights being very short, even with the reduced drop off in Petes arena. I would like to have fights that last longer that test the drivers ability and robot designs more, to encourage more innovation. This could be achieved through more interesting arena designs.

Unfortunately this leads to a problem, longer fights mean a longer day which isn't likely to be possible with people travelling to the event.
We have standardized on a double elimination tournament that does take longer as every robot does get two lives.
Another option to speed up the competition would be to reduce the team size to 3 robots.

What is your opinion on this subject to improve innovation and make the fights more tactical?
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:53 am

I don't think this should be in the rules debate section. Its a question of personal preference and there is nothing rule-breaking about pushbots. The reducing entries to 3 max is a rule debate but is about speeding up the event as they are getting large, not to do with "the dominance of pushers" as the heading says. If people want to build pushers, that's their choice. If people want to build something more innovative, that's their choice too. 2 of the 3 pushers you refer to were yours, Andy!
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:12 am

We've already discussed limiting entries to three if the size or length of an event deems it necessary, and as far I can tell there hasn't been any disagreement. A simple clause in the rules stating that the number of entries may be less than the maximum allowed at the discretion of the event organiser would be sufficient to cover this, if one is necessary at all.

The other topic is something that needs to be discussed further, IMO, but Dave's right that this thread isn't the place to do so.
Last edited by EpicentrE on Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:22 am

A clause is a great idea Scott.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:01 pm

I built push robots specifically to beat a very good push robot. I would like to be able to build the best flipper, biggest spinner or best grabber. But what's the point when a 4wd or fan robot will probably be more successful.

I put this in the rules section to look at how the rules could be changed to encourage the best ..... robot to be able to beat a fan robot Or 4wd wedge.

Obviously no drop off would favour spinners and thick armour. A low wall round the edge would favour flippers/lifters. Maybe we could have an event with a pit or just one drop off to see of other designs are successful.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:19 pm

Ok; when you put it like that, it is a rules issue.

As I've stated before, the fairest and most logical solution, to me, has to be to just scrap the rules determining what the arena can and can't have. Allow people to build whatever arenas they want, and we, as a community, will naturally gravitate to what we like best, and what we feel gives the fairest and most interesting fights. It's not like we have negative personalities here; we don't have people who will build a completely enclosed arena just so their spinners can wreck everyone, while ignoring feedback from the community. We're all friendly, and I'm sure we'd all take and act on feedback about whatever arena we'd built, whether it was positive or negative.

I know Rory was intending to build an arena for his AWS which didn't comply with the current drop-off rules. I'd love to see him do this so we can try it out and see what it's like in practice, rather than only discussing it theoretically.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Occashokka » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:39 pm

There's probably some huge flaw in my idea but bear with,There have been several suggestions for making it stay fast for the fact there are so many and how to make it even but what if we instead of mono on mono did fights three way with 2going into losers bracket one staying in winners this promotes good driving as you can't follow something into the ditch without losing and instead of getting a bye round people would just get 2 robot fights instead of 3.while typing this already i have realised this layout although nice would need a whole new antlog
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:45 pm

We used to run 3-way melees in the first round, but they were almost universally disliked. Additionally, dropping down to three members per team should be sufficient to reduce the amount of time an event will take to run if it becomes a problem.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:47 pm

Discussion with Rory before the AWS said we were thinking about a fully enclosed arena with a central pit, which I think would be interesting.
You're never going to please everyone, but variety would help. The problem is getting someone to front the cost of building, storing, transporting new arenas to events.
Also, is it really "pushers" that are being singled out, or is it Stanley (and similar)? Because I got a lot of praise for the interesting nature of New York's Finest Taxi Service, but that was a pusher. As was WJEC which I thought was innovative too. Isn't it just a trend?
Stanley is a phenomenally well built machine, but even Alex himself has stated its boring and wants to build something else. Hib's doing well with his EDFs, so everyone is starting to build EDFs or things that can beat them (which happens to be strong pushers). It's trends isn't it?
The best way to create innovation is for people to build innovative designs. Sometimes this involves giving up chances of winning, or sometimes it can yield surprising results. Like the walker talk on the other thread, it took people to go "I'm going to build a walker regardless" for them to start to increase in number. If everyone wants to say "I'm not building a pusher", then good on them. I am hoping none of my next 4 will be pushers. If people want to join me in that, that's their choice.
I do like the idea of mixing up arena design, buy that again takes someone to take up the hassle. If money is an issue, maybe we could all donate something, but all these things involve people making pledges and seeing them through. And that's up to them.

We used to have melees as Scott said. They suck. Basically all the best robots are ganged up on and knocked out early.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:58 pm

I don't think pushers are the problem, they're just the symptom. The problem, in my view, is that the vast, vast majority of fights end by push-out. Even fights with spinners, flippers, and grabbers, often end with one robot pushing the other out, because it's the most simple and repeatable tactic. I'd like to see more fights end by damage being caused, or a robot being flipped or thrown over a wall, or a robot being controlled so well by it's opponent that it loses the judge's decision. I'd also like to see fights end by the opponent being pushed into a pit/drop-off, I just don't think it should be as incredibly dominant as it is currently.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:03 pm

I agree with that. Central pit a good idea? Or three enclosed walls and one side drop off? Then if the numbers become too large the organisers can limit people to 3 instead of 4 (with advanced warning) which would speed up an event without compromising an arena.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by suvv » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:30 pm

what about having active walls that drop away as the fights progress so that at the start there is no push out section but after say 90 seconds the first bit goes then more untill in the last bit of the fight there are little to no walls
how hard can it be???
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Rapidrory » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:39 pm

The beetle tournament in Dave W's arena at the last event had a pit and one low wall, where the pit was lowered after one minute. I greatly enjoyed this format, as it felt very nicely balanced, however it would drag fights out a fair bit. And I'm still hoping to construct an arena for the next AWS, so I'll be interested to see the outcome of this debate.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:05 pm

Complex arena ideas are all well and good. Getting someone to construct them is another matter. Don't forget, if this is to be used in an official AWS, it has to be flawless. If it has a lowering pit or walls that fall away after a minute or whatever, then they have to do that EVERY fight without failing, or someone could call favouritism. That's the difficulty. Me and Hib threw around arena ideas at the AWS but then, as he said, "but that's really hard to make!"
Having said that an arena with a pit release button like on robot wars would be nice. Then its a drivers choice whether it comes into play or not, and thus a new tactical play. Doesn't have to be active, just a target or something. But then plenty of people were knocked out of robot wars just because they were unaware the pit was about to lower.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:11 pm

My issue with arenas that change over the course of a fight is the risk of causing situations whereby one robot feels it is most beneficial to run away/fight very defensively until the arena has changed to suit it. For example, a pusher that feels that it needs to just run away from a spinner for a minute in order to have a chance of winning. That's no fun for either party. I prefer arenas changing through robot interaction - for example a pit release button - but any kind of change like this makes things more complicated for the arena's builder.

However, as I've said, I'm all for experimentation. If someone wants to run an AWS in an arena with a timed pit, or a button pit, or a central pit, or on the back of a giant turtle while it rampages around the hall eating lettuce, I'm happy to give it a try.

Edit: Dave beat me to it.
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