Create US OPEN Rant


Hello, I am currently a VRC Middle School player who participated in the US Open. Many instances of game changing issues have been shown at the tournament, and I want to make them publicly understood.

1: Failure to properly display timers and the clutter it creates and proper enforcement of rules

The time limit during driving is one of the most challenging aspects of VEX. You need to decide what you can and can’t do. During the tournament, the field side monitors displaying the time was not properly positioned for the majority of the tournament. During one of the quarterfinal matches, it actually ADVERSELY affected gameplay, resulting in an incorrect call being made on the possession of the cube when it slid out of team Top Secret’s scoop-ing claw and collided with the monitor. Instead, the cube was placed on Dublin Robotics’ side and cost them the match. Had 21246G not went back for the cube that SHOULD have been placed on the opponent’s side, the scores would have been much different. I saw the team go and protest the placement of the timer, saying it was improperly placed (which was true, the container the computer was on had most of its area towards Top Secret’s side) and that no definite conclusion should have been made because of the uncertainty involving where the cube would have landed, which SHOULD HAVE warranted a replay. The head judge shut the idea down saying it was not the fault of the organizers and put the blame on Dublin Robotics for not accounting for the computer’s position, citing that CREATE has been doing this for a very long time and that every other tournament does the same thing.
Let me get something straight.
It seems that the referees acknowledged their mistake, moving the computer further away from the field during the finals. (As seen as a member of the crowd, and on the web-cast.)
Clutter should be removed from the field and its immediate vicinity. Judges need to be aware of inconsistencies that may occur. Rules in the rulebook need to be properly enforced as well.

2: Improperly functioning equipment and video evidence rules

Having tournament equipment in proper working order is of paramount importance. Failure to do so could result in random shutdowns and the improper functions being carried out. The CREATE foundation has failed in providing that environment on multiple occasions. Throughout the entire tournament, one of the middle school fields has shown consistent signs of damaged/malfunctioning equipment. During my first match, me and my ally’s VEXNET randomly disconnected at the same time, resulting in a small point deficit, while the opponents still had theirs functioning. (We still won that match either way, it would not have changed the outcome of the game, because if we had control during that period, we would have cleared the field much faster). During another one of my matches VEXNET disconnected for EVERYONE on the field for 2 seconds. During the one of the quarterfinal matches, the WHOLE FIELD shut down for 4-5 seconds, causing the autonomous period to lock up and putting one of the alliances at a massive disadvantage due to the way their time allocation is handled. That resulted in a massive downwards snowball for their alliance because of it. When the alliance that lost presented credible VIDEO evidence to the head judge, the head judge immediately said that it was the robot’s fault and that there was nothing wrong with the equipment while turning the video evidence away. (If it was the robot’s fault, then why did more than 1 robot fail at a time numerous times throughout the days of play on that ONE FIELD?) Luckily, they were good sports about it and accepted the loss, but if it was another alliance in that position, then it would have been much different.
Deal with equipment problems instead of trying to blame it on other robots. The people need to look for obvious signals and present them to judges, but the judges need to know that technology is not 100% perfect. Also, that outdated rule on not accepting video replays needs to be REPEALED immediately.

Hopefully this message gets through to someone who understands the frustration these sorts of little things can create.

@facesmacker2 I understand you’re frustration, we’ve all had events with less than superb equipment, issues and judging calls. That being said, the forums isn’t the place for “rants”. If you want to make your point - go ahead, no one is saying you shouldn’t. You should just try to be a bit more kind about it and show a bit more respect for the volunteers that dedicated their time to help out at that event. If you have a specific complaint or request for something to be considered for the future, by all means, we’d all love to hear it. … But, if you’ve just come here just to air your frustrations, then that isn’t helping anyone. In terms of actual progress towards the bettering of VEX competitions, a well worded and respectful letter (open or not), that starts off by thanking the volunteers for their time, will be far more effective in the end.


The actions of the referees, I feel, are rather understandable. But I do also agree with facesmacker2 in that there were matches that should have been replayed or ref decisions that should have been reconsidered. But we must remember that the ref’s were on a tight schedule. There is a lot of pressure in running events like these. I think the referees were really trying to keep the tournament schedule on time. For the most part, the tournament ran smoothly right? We can attribute that to the refs and the tournament administrators. As for the teams that were disadvantaged due to field inconsistencies, I think it is a good learning experience that shows that, in life, a lot of small things can go wrong especially when we really don’t need them to. The best you can do is pick yourself back up and continue fighting!

Agreed, but definitely, what can be put under control by the organizers should be under control. The matches did go fine for the most part, but there were quite a few rotten eggs.

You’re right. There were a lot of times when I thought the refs’ ruling on what side game pieces that were suspended over the fence should fall.

I’m not here for an English lesson tyvm. I never actually insulted anyone, I only said the truth about their opinion. Anyways, why would I even air my frustrations here? I want to create awareness for an issue that plagued the 3 days of the tournament. My point still seems to have gotten across, so whatever.

@facesmacker2 Just like @ethan_matlack and @Team2019Charlie said previously, events like these are made possible through a massive number of volunteers under a fairly tight schedule. It is impossible to train volunteers for every possible circumstance; they have to quickly decide what call to make to maintain fairness while not jeopardizing the event or making the event run late. Sometimes they make mistakes, but they’re only human.

As someone who has helped with multiple local-level tournaments, often working fairly closely with EPs, the amount of work that goes into hosting a tournament, especially at the scale of the CREATE US Open, is beyond [my] comprehension. Those managing such large events are inevitably under a lot of stress just to make everything work smoothly. While you may not be happy about some of the happenings at the US Open, understand that it would be virtually impossible, from an EP perspective, to watch every match on every field and know what hardware needed to be replaced.

Consider emailing the event organizer(s) offering your help in making future events better instead of ranting on the Forums.

Heh. Hard to take that seriously. Anyways, I already have applied for worlds and am volunteering at local tournaments. Pretty sure you would do the same thing if you were in my shoes with a bunch of unreasonable calls being made.

As seen in the field specs (p 4-5), the “proper” setup for the monitor has it attached to the field itself, which is the opposite of moving the display away from the field as you described. I don’t believe that there is any reasonable illegal setup (obviously facing away from the competitors wouldn’t work), and that monitor placement is up to the EP. EPs, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, though, I’ve never set up an event.

Also, which inconsistencies? I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

There are a number of things that can cause a disconnect: loose battery, IMEs, low 9V battery charge, bad/broken VEXNET key. Some of these are exceedingly common. The VEX tournament hardware is set up for easy debugging, and as far as I know, it’s fairly easy to determine whether a disconnect is the fault of the robots or the tournament hardware. Granted, I was not there, but this seems like confirmation bias to me. Were disconnects happening on the other field? Were you checking for disconnects on the other field? Were all the “disconnects” on that field actual disconnects, or robots stalling, motor shorting, etc.?

And again, EPs, please correct me if I’m wrong about the tournament hardware.

If you wanted a change in policy or procedure, you would have been better off writing a letter or email directly to one of the event partners.

Why, exactly?

I don’t think any of these calls are unreasonable. Wrong, perhaps, but nothing you’ve said indicates a repeated violation of the rules. Mistakes happen. Anyone who can pull off an event with 100 teams, at the same time as 3 other, larger tournaments without any mistakes deserves an award. And some sleep. The bad cube call was an isolated event, which you said was rectified in future matches. The call to ignore the video evidence is explicitly stated in the rulebook. It may be old and outdated, it may not be, but as you said, “rules in the rulebook need to be properly enforced.”

I second this rant. Although I will say video evidence is NEVER allowed, there were some software issues with the field, causing me to lose autonomous, and when I politely told them this, they wouldn’t fix the issue. They ran the match again, but the same thing happened. Multiple teams complained of issues on this field, not just me.

We had a volunteer from our state, a good friend, quit her volunteering because she was upset with the way the entire competition was handled. I am not ‘ranting’ either, simply making aware that this competition was poorly coordinated. I would expect something more professional, especially since we wanted to have a US Open instead of Nationals. This doesn’t give the US a good rep for our quality of competition, besides Worlds, which is actually through VEX. I am sorry if this sounds rude, but I hope some of you understand where I am coming from.

I have been out of the VEX world since 2011, when did it switch from Nationals to Open, and what was the motivation for that?

We switched in 2013 i believe, and we were wanting to get out of country teams into the states to compete. This competition is not through vex, but rather the CREATE foundation, so they wanted to get more people involved in their organization, most likely not realizing that out of country teams come to WORLDS for a bigger and more intense competition

The CREATE U.S. Open is hosted by the CREATE Foundation, and is separate from the VEX Robotics World Championship, which is hosted by VEX and the RECF.

Yes, i believe i already stated that, but thank you for clearing away any confusion. We are looking forwards to a better competition at WORLDS than at US Open

My team still calls it Nationals (173 US teams and 2 Canadian teams in the HS division makes it feel that way). It is difficult to explain to people who aren’t involved in VEX Robotics that it is a totally separate thing. For us in the US, the cheaper registration might make it worth while to go to Nationals, but i imagine for those coming in from other countries, it has less of an impact.

Sorry, I didn’t see your post until after I posted mine. Didn’t hit the refresh button :\

Definitely. The Open filled up early in the season, and it feeds from the local competitions rather than state, so there were a lot of weaker teams there along with some of the best. It made the competition a little weaker, but i would consider it a good experience for those teams who were able to qualify for it but not worlds.

I’ve edited one post for language, and another for quoting it.