The Google Signature event highlighted a number of concerns with Signature Events. VEX and/or the RECF must have a larger influence on the planning and execution of these events. Overall, according to some participants, the event was run well. However, it had some serious issues, at least for those looking from the outside, in.
Here is the signature event requirement document that will be used for the next part of this post.
TR.1. There shall be no more than 50% of registered teams from the same region
Out of the 56 teams in attendance, 36 were from California, according to Robot Events, though this may be due to California being split into several constituent regions.
TR.4. Teams shall be given the opportunity to run three (3) Driving Skills Matches and three (3) Programming Skills Matches
On the first day, they allowed unlimited skills matches, which was talked about in detail here: Why is the Google Signature event allowing more than 3 skills runs?
TR.5. All competition fields for Qualifying Matches and Finals Matches shall be raised off of the floor to the same height and be between ten (10) and twenty-four (24) inches.
The fields at the event were not raised.
TR.6.4. There shall be at least (1) Practice field for every 16 teams.
According to those at the event, there were 2 practice fields. There should have been 3-4.
L2.3. The event shall be a two (2) day event, with at least three (3) Qualification Matches on each day.
The event was 2 days (for HS), however, the first day only consisted of skills matches. No qualification matches were played.
L2.4. The event shall broadcast to VEX Via live during the event.
While the event was broadcast live at some points throughout the day, it was spotty, and it occasionally took hours before scores were posted.
This begs the question- What does the RECF do if an event doesn’t meet these requirements? What is the point of having a document outlining what is required out of a signature event, if it isn’t enforced?
It is hard to write this without sounding depreciate of all that referees do. We mean no disrespect to any of them.
The reffing at the event was less than ideal. On two occasions the referees said they did not see violations, and had questionable interpretations of rules.
For example, one thing that was said during the drivers meeting (according to teams at the event), and one thing that teams were warned for, was descoring stacks made during autonomous, in an attempt to put a higher one up. The rule they were citing was SG6.
Keep Cubes in the field. Teams may not intentionally remove Cubes from the field. While Cubes may accidentally leave the field when attempting to Score, doing so intentionally or repeatedly would be a violation of this rule. Cubes that leave the field during Match play, intentionally or unintentionally, will not be returned.
The first seed had to switch to a lower scoring autonomous, so the cubes could be descored without the potential for leaving the field at all. The presumed intent of this rule is to prevent the making of a strategy which is to intentionally, and strategically, remove cubes from the field. There was a clear attempt to keep these cubes in the field, and it gave them an advantage during the match to do so. A few examples of this in play were at 9:06:26, 9:39:42 and 9:56:20.
Changing their autonomous made them lose 3 points towards the autonomous bonus each match, changing their entire strategy.
There was another post made on the forum here about the reffing. I disagree with the manner they went about explaining their side, so I won’t link it. Here is the video they provided.
This is an obvious and clear violation of SG3 A, E & D by 7K. They indirectly contacted a robot in the IPZ, and the goal zone barrier. As laid out in Q&A 432, this is a clear disqualification. Note the middle referee pointing at 7K’s robot. The same pointing occurred in Finals Match 1, mentioned below, but neither violation was called.
During Finals Match 1, at approximately 1:47, the blue alliance crossed into the inner protected zone volume. As laid out in Q&A 449, because the blue alliance was blocking the protected zone and was then pushed into it as a result of offensive maneuvers by the red alliance, this should be a disqualification for the blue alliance.
During the same match, the blue alliance crossed into the inner protected zone volume at 1:19, which is also an automatic disqualification.
It would have been potentially easier to spot violations of these rules if the referees had been at the unprotected zone corners, instead of all at the back, as said at 3:32 in the Chapter 2 Referee Training Video.
We aren’t trying to change the outcome of the event. We aren’t trying to disqualify the event or to disrespect the Event Partner(s). As new as Signature Events are, the RECF is surely still trying to figure out exactly what they are, and what they want from them. We want to use this as a talking point that there is still work to be done, and conversations to be had about these events.
It’s hard to say “what if” to if these issues would have changed the outcome of the tournament, but we can say that all of these issues could have changed it.
As for solutions for this problem, we believe a combination of RECF/VEX involvement in the organization and planning process, execution, ref training, and community input would go a long way. We hope this is the first step into improving these events, and making them something that we can all be proud of.