Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

A discussion forum for proposed changes to the AWS rules (2014)

Moderators: BeligerAnt, petec, administrator

Forum rules
* Only one rule per thread. Any deviation will be moved by the moderators.
* Keep the discussions on-topic, relevant and polite. Anything else WILL be removed by the moderators.
* If you start a new thread (to discuss a different rule) quote the existing rule in the first post so everyone knows what you're talking about.
* The existing rules (version 4.2) can be found here: http://robotwars101.org/ants/rules.htm
razerdave
Posts: 1545
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:40 pm
Location: Carterton, Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by razerdave »

My opinion and proposal for rule change:
Arena drop off should/must be a minimum of 1/3's of the arenas perimeter, with spaces of a minimum of 15cm between any seperate walls.

A bit wordy, but fits all arena sizes and gets around any spacing issues.

On a personal note, I would be having to restart matches over and over because so many people follow their opponent out when pushing (me on many occasions!).

User avatar
Rhys
Posts: 738
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Caerphilly, South Wales

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Rhys »

Olivers arena had quite high walls and I seem to remember pushers still managed to get their opponents over the edge on a few occasions. Plus pushers are still going strong in weight catagories where there is no drop-off.

I'd say more of a ridge maybe than a wall. At the moment as soon as a pusher gets underneath you, the fight is over. Low enough for them to be pushed over, but not so low that it's a foregone conclusion. But then maybe this will favour flippers too much. I'm not seriously expecting this to be implemented, it's just what I would ideally like to see.

To be honest, I'm just glad this is being debated again. As Rapidrory say, you have so many good ideas, but a pusher just seems to be the easiest to build with the biggest chance of success.

And Dave, should you maybe add a maximum amount to your definition? Otherwise we might see arena with 100% drop-off, further advantaging pushers.
Image

razerdave
Posts: 1545
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:40 pm
Location: Carterton, Oxfordshire
Contact:

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by razerdave »

Minimum of 1/3 and maximum of 1/2 of the perimeter? That way people can use any arena currently in use (except mine :P ) for an AWS.

User avatar
peterwaller
Posts: 3192
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Aylesbury Bucks
Contact:

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by peterwaller »

While I agree it would be useful to have a minimum width of any dropoff I think 15cm would be way too small.
Many of us would have difficulty driving our robots through such a small gap let alone push another robot.
My arena is 92cms on the closed sides and 90cms on the dropoff sides so I would suggest a minimum gap of say 30cms would be about right for that.
The 90cms width is set by my car space so if we start looking at haveing arena's where the non dropoff sides have short walls we would have to reduce the width of the arena by the 30cms to get the extra ditches in.

StuartL
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:38 pm
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by StuartL »

Minimum of 25% of the perimeter would equate to two drop offs of 45cm on a minimum size 90cm x 90cm arena. Perhaps a minimum drop-off of 25% and a maximum of the current minimum, i.e. 50%?

EpicentrE
Posts: 829
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Coventry
Contact:

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by EpicentrE »

If we do need to specify a percentage amount in the rule rather than change the method of enforcing the rule altogether, 20% or 25% minimum seems to be a reasonable number to me. I would still like to try less, even though I understand that might be going too far - as I've said, I'm all for experimentation in this matter. It's worth remembering that the same percentage on a larger arena (such as mine and Andy's) correlates to a larger drop-off area. Would it be better to specify a minimum amount in size rather than percentage because of this?

If we are doing percentages, I agree that 50% maximum would also be good to put in to ensure that current arenas can still be used, although I would hope that if it is the case that the vast majority of people prefer less drop off, people who currently own 50% drop off arenas would consider adding some extra walls to bring them in line.

I also agree that if we're formalising this rule, a minimum width per drop-off should be specified. I would argue however that 20cm is a more reasonable minimum than 30cm. When being pushed, it's not like you need your entire robot to be between the walls in order to fall off. In most cases if one edge of your machine touches a wall, your robot is just going to rotate around it and fall in anyway.

I also feel it's worth bringing up another section of this rule which I didn't mention in my first post:

50mm is the recommended height for arena walls.

This obviously can't refer to "full" walls, so I can only assume it refers to short walls on non-drop-off edges of an arena (such as around Oliver's arena). I don't really know whether this is required, but if it is, it should probably be an enforced minimum to stop shenanigans such as the very low walls Oliver had on his arena that one time which people could just drive backwards over they were so low. I wouldn't want to enforce a maximum, however, as I'd again like to see experimentation in this field. Due to construction methods, most arenas typically have 50% of the outside by full walls. I wouldn't mind seeing arenas with - as well as the full walls and the drop-offs - some intermediate sized walls (say 10-20cm high) such that a well-aimed flip from a pneumatic flipper or a good hit from a vertical spinner could send someone over it, but horizontal spinners or robots hit by them would generally be saved. I'd personally like to return to being scared of spinners because they can damage you, not because you're likely to leave the arena after one solid hit, and on the flip-side, I'd prefer it if spinners could avoid flying out of the arena after one unfortunate hit. I'm not at all for making our spinners like American spinners, where because there are no pits, drop-offs or low walls they can just be completely uncontrollable and go flying all over the place after every hit. I think with the drop-off that we will always have we cover that situation already. I'd just like spinners to do what they're designed to do without constant fear of almost certain self-destruction on any bad hit.
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
http://www.epicrobotics.co.uk

Andrew_Hibberd
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:00 am
Location: London
Contact:

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Andrew_Hibberd »

I think most people are of the opinion that larger arenas are better but we may struggle with car sizes.

For the drop off rules; I have had a play with the numbers, could I have positive and negative comments about this and we can take a consensus on the way forward. It will allow all current arenas with some low walls added to the existing drop off sides but will also allow some customization.

Code: Select all

3a) All battles must take place in a battle box, regardless of weapons being used in the battle.
4mm polycarbonate is the minimum recommended thickness. With no gaps greater than 2mm for safety.

3b) The arena will be a raised platform with an area of at least 35.4 inches (900mm) square.

3c) 20-30% of the arena circumference must be a pitted drop off with a minimum of 2 gaps each being a minimum of 225mm wide. (This means  900-1200mm arenas can have 2-4 drop offs.  For the 900mm arena with 2 drop offs must be at least 360mm to meet the 20%)
20-40% low walls 1-3" high, minimum 75mm width lengths
30-60% of the arena should have walls over 5" high, minimum 75mm lengths

3d) The minimum distance between the edge of the unwalled part of the arena and the battle box (and therefore the width of the ditch) is 140mm.
TEAM GEEK!

StuartL
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:38 pm
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by StuartL »

Andrew_Hibberd wrote:

Code: Select all

3a) All battles must take place in a battle box, regardless of weapons being used in the battle.
4mm polycarbonate is the minimum recommended thickness. With no gaps greater than 2mm for safety.

3b) The arena will be a raised platform with an area of at least 35.4 inches (900mm) square.

3c) 20-30% of the arena circumference must be a pitted drop off with a minimum of 2 gaps each being a minimum of 225mm wide. (This means  900-1200mm arenas can have 2-4 drop offs.  For the 900mm arena with 2 drop offs must be at least 360mm to meet the 20%)
20-40% low walls 1-3" high, minimum 75mm width lengths
30-60% of the arena should have walls over 5" high, minimum 75mm lengths

3d) The minimum distance between the edge of the unwalled part of the arena and the battle box (and therefore the width of the ditch) is 140mm.
Suggestions:
  • Standardise on either metric or imperial.
  • Increase the maximum circumference for drop-off to 50% to allow existing arenas to be used if preferred.
  • Specify the minimum 'low wall' height but no maximum, allowing existing arenas to be used if preferred.
  • Increase the ditch width to (sqrt(2) * max(robotwidth,robotheight) + someslack) so that a robot can fall cleanly into the ditch at any angle. 150mm should be sufficient.

Psychostorm
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Psychostorm »

EpicentrE wrote:Some however argue that intentionally trying to tip the balance of successful designs and strategies in a way intended to make more kinds of robots and strategies have an equal chance is not something that should be done. There are also those who believe that reducing the drop-off will actually tip the balance far further in the other direction, making pushers far less effective than other robots.
An opinion outside of your opinion, Scott. You all believe it to be unequal and unfair now but is that fact? Yes? I challenge you all to prove it before you vote.

You either fall off or you don't. You either get pushed off or you don't. You get flipped out or you don't. You spin out or you don't. 50/50%

The arena is currently equal. It has two sides with walls & two without walls. 50/50%. Equal. In the rules.

IMO when you leave this incredibly fair & equal arena design, you are to blame. It was your responsibility at every step to avoid it regardless of:
  • How fast & powerful antweights were when the rules devised.
  • How fast & powerful antweights are now.
  • What design your antweight has.
  • What components your antweight has.
  • How well you can drive.
  • What design your opponents antweight has.
  • What components your opponents antweight has.
  • How well your opponent can drive.
  • infinite etcetera
In addition most designs, bar a few, can push someone off that drop off. Why penalize the many for the design decisions of a few?

The only variables to any , asides dumb luck, are the design of the robot you chose at the start of build process (fair), your driving skills (Very fair), the design of the opposing robot you chose at the start of their build process (fair) your opponents driving skills (unavoidable - nature of competition).

[(your design + your tech + your driving+ dumb luck) - (their design + their tech + their driving + dumb luck + draw luck)] ^ rounds

IMHO, no-one should be building antweight robots purely to win, no matter what the arena designs are. That is greed. Cardinal Sin. One way ticket to bringing out the worst people. One step towards arguing with the judges or disrespecting your opponent.

EpicentrE
Posts: 829
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Coventry
Contact:

Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by EpicentrE »

I'm still not sure we realistically need to specify different percentages for each type of edge (drop-off, small wall, full/high wall). However if we are specifying percentages, those above are fairly reasonable, and still allow differentiation between designs. You could, for example, have:

20% drop off, 60% high wall, 20% low wall
30% drop off, 30% high wall, 40% low wall

And anything in-between those two.

I'd still be concerned that this would make existing arenas fall outside of the rules without modifications (Pete's, for example) or a complete change in design (Oliver's).

Last point, why 225mm for the minimum drop-off size? Seems an odd number.

Edit: Response to Ceri, as he posted while I was posting;

I have never, ever stated my opinions to be fact. I tried to be as unbiased as possible while writing the first post of this thread, but obviously it's difficult for me to be entirely unbiased when I am firmly on one side of the discussion, and so I of course welcome opposition. I have said, and I will continue to say, that I am not attempting to impose my will or opinions on others, nor do I believe that my opinions should be free from criticism.

Onto your points;
You either fall off or you don't. You either get pushed off or you don't. You get flipped out or you don't. You spin out or you don't. 50/50%
Stating two things next to each other in a sentence does not imply equal probabilities. The sentence "You either win the lottery or you don't" does obviously not imply that you have a 50% chance of doing so, so I cannot see what the purpose of this sentence is.
The arena is currently equal. It has two sides with walls & two without walls. 50/50%. Equal. In the rules.
The arena having equal amounts of walls and drop-offs does not imply that all fights that take place within the arena are also equal. It implies that the ratio of the types of edges that make up the circumference of the arena are equal. I don't believe there is any correlation between the equality of edge types in the arena to the equality of battles between robots, especially those of different types.
IMO when you leave this incredibly fair & equal arena design, you are to blame. It was your responsibility at every step to avoid it regardless of: <snip>
I assume this is a collective "you" to all the people who agree with the rule change, rather than an attack on me personally, as I've certainly not been the only supporter of less drop-off, even if Andy and I were the first ones to try it seriously in a tournament setting. All those things you have mentioned of course matter and affect the outcome, and doing any one of them better or differently will affect the outcome - no-one could argue against that. What you appear to be suggesting here is that if your robot loses, it was entirely the fault of you and robot, with absolutely no external factors, and you should've built something that doesn't lose. This seems contrary to what you say at the end of your post regarding not "building to win".
In addition most designs, bar a few, can push someone off that drop off. Why penalize the many for the design decisions of a few?
This is true, but if machine A is better at pushing someone off a drop-off than machine B, and the arena is such that you're most likely to win by pushing someone off a drop-off, then machine A is superior in that regard. Just because almost every robot can do it doesn't imply that all robots do it equally. One of my arguments, and those of others in this thread, is that because winning in this manner is the most dominant type of win in our current arenas, any robot other than one designed to take as much advantage of that as is possible is immediately at a disadvantage. If you're suggesting they don't build a machine that is at a disadvantage in our current arena design, then you are encouraging them to "build to win".
[(your design + your tech + your driving+ dumb luck) - (their design + their tech + their driving + dumb luck + draw luck)] ^ rounds
Whatever your opinions of whether our arena should be changed or not are, you cannot deny that arena design has to factor into this formula. If we happened to be having this discussion in America where most of the arenas have no pits or drop-offs, we'd be instead be asking what we can do to make incredibly powerful spinners and heavily armoured boxes less prominent. If you're not including it in the formula then you're suggesting arena design doesn't matter, which is what you're arguing against.
IMHO, no-one should be building antweight robots purely to win, no matter what the arena designs are. That is greed. Cardinal Sin. One way ticket to bringing out the worst people. One step towards arguing with the judges or disrespecting your opponent.
On this point, I can entirely agree with you. I like winning, winning is fun and nice and makes you feel warm inside. But I mainly do antweights to have fun and to challenge myself. There have been many instances where I've been as happy to lose as I am to win, as it has taught me something about myself, my robots, my driving, or my opponent. That said, building a design which you find to be fun and interesting, and then it being entirely ineffectual because it doesn't fit into the metagame that has evolved with our current arena, is not fun. What I want is an arena where as many different types of robots as possible can thrive; where someone doesn't have to bypass their fun idea because they know they will go 0-2 every tournament when their robot is pushed out of the arena within seconds. I want someone to build what they think is fun, and as long as it is a good design (note: not good design considering our current arena, but a good design when taken in comparison to robot combat as a whole), and well driven, have a chance to perform well with it.

This isn't a personal attack, it's a genuine question; if winning is entirely unimportant, why compete? Why not just fight people in the secondary arena in the pits all day, as you'd surely have more fun this way? However, if winning is even the slightest bit important, surely we should be aiming for an environment where people can have as much fun as is reasonable AND win.

I think it's also worth noting that we've had events with less than 50% drop off, and the response from those who competed has been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe it doesn't fit the definition of fair which you are working from, but if almost every roboteer has more fun, and spectators have more fun, isn't that something worth moving towards?
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
http://www.epicrobotics.co.uk

Post Reply