Hi All, I hate to sound negative (I’d like to think I am a nice guy) but something came to our attention the other day that I thought was worth sharing and hopefully getting an answer on ASAP. Recently our team attended an event and was told of a startling “rumor”. The rumor was that come April 1[SUP]st[/SUP], the GDC could rule that the “dump” bots (bots that extend past the fence) could be ruled illegal. We were told to “expect” this ruling from someone who apparently has connections with the GDC (again just what was told to us).
First off, those who mentioned this did so with respect and professionalism and ran a GREAT event so I in no way am criticizing them. They were first class to us all the way and we appreciated them sharing this with us. I know there has been MUCH debate over this type of bot on the forums all year. We even asked a few questions ourselves. When our initial design process began, the teams and I scoured the forums for the “transformation” and “extension” rulings and each time something was posted (by us or someone else), it was ruled that as long as it never goes outside the 13x20, it’s legal. Someone even posted a diagram of this type of bot that again was ruled legal. When my teams saw this, they immediately printed it out, put in their notebook, and kept with them for inspections in case they were called out on it.
What concerns me is if this rumor is true, and I would have to tell my team that they have to start over at this point, that would be unbelievable demeaning and demoralizing to them and their efforts. They have played by the rules, as stated in the forums and rulebook, up to this point. For a drastic rule like this to be made so late would also mean that have pretty much no time to rebuild and be competitive at Worlds. We can score about 75 points at best-not the 100+ that others can. I am no mathematician. I can’t explain arcs, tangents, etc. as debated in this forum. I also don’t expect the average 5[SUP]th[/SUP] grader to explain it either. Given the two assumptions, I didn’t teach my kids this. What I did teach them is how to problem solve, work as a team, and maximize their potential. When the design process began, they built an arm that BEGAN at 20 inches. When they raised up, they quickly discovered it went way outside the legal limit. Through many trials and errors, they final figured out a design that would work for them. Likewise, when they measured after the arm stopped, they knew, based on their frame, they couldn’t be any closer than 3.5 inches from the goal. Again, with much testing, failure, and reattempts, they discovered a solution. THAT is what Robotics is about: learning.
Anyone who looks at our team’s bot can tell 2 things: 1) it was built by kids. There are oddities about it that even a non-engineer like myself scratch my head at, and still do. 2) the scoop and dump idea is quite simple if you think about it. The initial idea came from the Add it Up game but they had to perfect it given size restrictions. I agree in the debate that we need to figure out how to remove the adult involvement in bots but calling into question a simple scoop and dump is absurd considering the same could be said for other designs out there now. If the GDC’s intention was to make this a pure shooter game, then a rule should have been made where teams could not break the plane (as in NBN) from the onset. Because they didn’t, and officials ruled on here that it was expected that teams would break the plane and hang over, we took full advantage of that. There is no rule stating teams have to shoot and I believe many teams simply tried to maximize their efforts given the existing rules this year. To change such an important legality at this point wouldn’t be fair to the teams who have abided by the rules, have gone through numerous events where it was never in question, already qualified for Worlds, and most importantly, the kids who have learned and grown in this process and taught true life lessons through Robotics.
I sincerely hope this was a rumor but if it is being seriously considered, I would implore the GDC to take these things, mainly the kids and their attention to the rules they have played by all year, into consideration before making a harsh decision and the ramifications for those who did this the right way. I don’t want to have to tell my hard working kids they have to start over. It wouldn’t shock me if the frustration and disappointment of being worked over by adults would drive them away from this learning arena and VEX in general. I let my kids fail-it’s a life lesson they need to learn. But to “fail” in the regards of a sudden rule change by adults would be hard for them to get over. I would also urge the GDC to consider these issues when making rules for future games so there isn’t as much debate over what’s legal and what isn’t. Again I hope this was just a rumor.
Thanks and good luck to all!