Concerns With Rule T1b

Rule T1b reads:

Head Referees may not review any photo or video Match recordings to determine a score or ruling.

To start off, I would like to say that I think in general, rule T1b is a good rule. I think that it can save a lot of time at events and make things run smoothly. However, this year is probably the hardest year for referees. In addition to normal rules like trapping and entanglement, referees have to watch for SG3, SG6, and SG7 violations. This year, there are probably more cases of the referee deciding who wins the match than any other season. At some point, referees are bound to miss something.

So far this season, it has happened a few times to me. The biggest example is in an elimination match, a robot on the other alliance bumped our platform with 29 seconds left. The referees didn’t see it, and the other alliance won by 5 points. Another time during autonomous, a robot on the other alliance missed putting a ring in the goal, and instead it rolled across the field, into our home zone, and got stuck under our drive. In a different match, while the refs were counting up the score, they noticed that a rings and fallen out of the red alliance goal. However, they didn’t remember which blue robot knocked the goal over and were unable to issue an official warning.

I am not trying to change the results of any of these matches. I simply wanted to use them as examples of calls refs missed that could have been fixed with video replays.

In around 2 months, state competitions will be held and most of the spots to worlds will be given out. In the examples I listed earlier, who moved on in the elimination bracket, and the distribution of WP were affected. When the refs made the incorrect call that lead to my alliance losing the match, I was upset. But at the end of the day, my team was still qualified for state and it had no long term effect on our season. I would hate to have anyone not move onto worlds simply because an incorrect call was made. With BO1, one missed call can change who does, and who doesn’t, get to go to worlds.

I propose that an exception be added to rule T1b.

During the elimination rounds at a worlds qualifying event, the referee may review video footage if the referee’s call will decide the outcome of the match.

This addition to the rules, would solve the worst of the issues of rule T1b while still allowing the event to run quickly and efficiently.

I hope to hear the communities thoughts on this, and I hope the GDC will consider adding this in the 2.4 game manual update.


As a ref, I agree that T1b is a good rule and I agree that this year’s game is one that could lead me to wish for a carve-out. That said, I think that keeping T1b as a hard-and-fast ban on video review is good.

Over the competitions I’ve specated at or directly refereed, every ref I’ve seen tries to get every call right. We don’t always get every call right. And that’s a part of life. Missed calls will cost teams Worlds spots. Full stop. I’m OK with that.

Why? I think even with video review, there will still be missed calls that will cost teams Worlds spots. Look at the NFL with Instant Replay. Look at soccer’s VAR. Both still have blown calls.

Competition is great. Winning is great and a lot of fun. Don’t let winning and losing define your VRC (or life) experience. Learning how to lose - how to take a bad outcome and fuel improvement - is what engineering (and life) is all about.


I like to think VEX referees can see slightly better than NFL refs… NFL refs might qualify to be legally blind with some of the calls they make.


I think the better thing is to sort out the 30 second rule. The entire “they touched me at 29 seconds or 27.5 seconds” drives me back to middle school with my sister going “not touching you, still not touching you” with a finger about 2 angstroms from my nose. And the transitive "Blue A hits Red A that then hits Blue B that then pushes Red B into the Blue platform == disqual. "

But I’m happy to apply for RECF grant money to put cameras at all four corners of the field and one with an above field view to use as reviews.


What footage are you expecting to be reviewed? If the event is live streaming or recording, I could maybe see refs reviewing that at their discretion. Opening it up to everyone pointing a camera is a hot mess. I think the origin of that rule is based on how infrequently events provide their own video.


i think that is why he specified specifically worlds

It always made sense to me about this rule, but I completely agree with your proposal. sometimes it is so high stake and yet the referee misses something and they can’t make a call that you saw. I have one instance myself that looking back at footage would have helped with. My team was undefeated but were unable to balance on our platform because of a stray ring and so we dropped a match. However, we do record the matches and so I looked back afterward and it was not an opponent and so it wouldn’t have mattered. But still, if it had mattered, looking back would’ve won us the match.


Sometimes refs cannot see everything at once, they try their absolute best to fly through every rule possible and sometimes a rule violation can squeak through. Though, scoring refs can help to overturn a ruling when a team can’t, as scoring refs are made to be unbiased and can provide the best point of view for both alliances.

1 Like

I don’t really see how this could be changed. You have to have a hard deadline somewhere. If you moved the timer to 1 minute left than it would be “he touched me with 59 seconds left”. Unless you changed it to no touching the opposing alliances platform at all.

As @7996B said, this would only be at state/regional events. They should have a livestream. I could see it getting messy with everyone showing the ref their own footage, but it should all show the same thing.


I did notice the qualifier event statement originally. We are close to that level of saturation of streaming, but I don’t think you can assume all regions have it.

I say this knowing it is not very difficult or expensive.

To enforce your rule modification, regional qualifiers would be required to record/stream elimination matches. A goal to aim for, I just don’t think we are there yet.


I get your point. Maybe vex could make it an option available to refs with a livestream, kind of like with GPS strips. If the head ref has an official livestream, they can view it, if not, oh well. Still better than nothing.


My venue might have the best live stream setup ever for a VRC event, with a minimum of 5 cameras per field for every match. That said, we still don’t have the capability of reviewing the video until after the live stream has ended and only what was sent to the live stream by the producer. I mean, I want that instant reply machine capturing all the video but that’s another $45k.

Unless someone is filming each match individually, then this is not an option. Then there will be arguments about the camera angles, resolution, etc. We are a years, maybe decades, away from any scenario where referees will look at video.


What platform are you using to live stream? I know on YouTube or twitch you can simply rewind the video.


But why meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :sob: :sob: :sob: :sob: :sob:

1 Like

As much as I appreciate the refs I thinks it is kind of annoying.

1 Like

Another option could be to leave it to the head referee’s discretion if they feel it is beneficial to review video evidence.


Not sure what you find annoying?

If human error you want out of equation - then go solely skills only route. Less likely to have to deal with human element of interaction.

If you ask me, that human interaction aspect of perspective is such a great skill to develop.

As for video replay - no thanks - as one who is figuring out how to stream reliably to audiences who can not come to venue, my priority is there. Once you make that calculus, you find out that Live Streams for spectator consumption is a very different beast than live replay for officials to review at events. There are too many variables to consider at this point to have a consistent implementation (and paid for by teams - sorry we have to increase your team fee for every event by $100) and compliance - how long do we need to keep the videos? how soon do they need to be available to teams as archives? Does the RECF have to watch all 1000 events all the time?

@jobe pointed out that even if you have gear that can do review right away (I am pretty sure the ATEM Mini Extreme Pro which is good at archiving all cameras at $1,500 does not even cut lose to live reviews… and I know because I have the less expensive to get the “Live” part done - not doing reviews any time soon)…

From an event perspective - teams have around four minutes on the field to get it more right than wrong.


I’ll admit to ignorance here, but how many high school sports have video review? Granted VRC maybe easier logistically (smaller playing area) than football, basketball or soccer, but there’s also a lot more money put into those sports than robotics.

Bad calls suck. Losing out on them sucks. There are ways to qualify for Worlds (Skills, online challenges, judged awards, etc) that take “bad calls” out of the mix.

The other side of the coin is - everyone remembers when they were “robbed” but rarely remember when the bad call went their way. Human nature


Ok - I will bite - ZERO

So, let’s take a step back a bit here… 99.9% teams in VRC are engaged through competition period (unless your match cycle is 110 minutes). I think what is really unique for VRC (for spectators, teams, and volunteers) is constant flow of activity. A livestream pause and review - ick not really cool, more so it might be perceived as whiny kids playing lawyer … I think it is critical to keep the ball moving. Top tier teams do not whine at events - they are usually the most patient teams - get a decision, move forward and develop strategies and tactics to never be in that situation again.

High school sports is more “league format” playing over long time frame weeks long and matches long time… (Football, bball, …) . Track, wrestling, tournament formats are closer to VRC but still matches are longer in those sports.

Although typically a lot of HS sports have more funding and support from boosters - usually none livestream … but way back when, I did hear about swim teams use TiVo to record dive runs for feedback using "skip back 30 seconds … that is a pretty short cycle and easy to use

At this juncture - video in VRC is used for audience experience, near and afar… for judging purposes for a 1:45 time period - why???


I can kind of see both sides here. You want the event to run quickly, you don’t want the referees pausing every other match to watch a video, that’s bad for the event as a whole. But on the other hand, if you’re in a single elimination bracket (which… I have opinions about, but that’s a separate thread) something that happens in that 1:45 time period can be the difference between making it to worlds or the season ending. And if you have video showing the ref clearly made a mistake, that sucks.

You can’t just “get a decision and move forward and develop new strategies” if the ref made a bad call in elims at states that cost you the match. That’s it, go home, your season is over because of a single bad call. Elims in a world qualification event are do or die, you lose a match your season is over.

If I could wave a magic wand and write the rules how I wanted (or at least, try it at an event and see if my idea actually works in practice) I’d follow the NFL model of video replays. You have a timeout in elims. You took a video of the match that shows the ref got the call wrong? OK, put your single timeout on the line. If you’re right and the decision is overturned, you keep the timeout, otherwise you lose it.