Interesting In the Zone Rules

Let’s discuss interesting new rules and modified rules in the 2017-2018 game “In the Zone”.

Autonomous Period


In the Zone:

Note the addition of the word Student. Possible intent: To prevent adults from programming robots.


Starstruck (G5):

In the Zone:

Wireless communication by team members in a match is now explicitly prohibited. Students can only use phones if airplane mode is on. Possible intent: To prevent wireless interference with the VEXnet system.


In the Zone:

The GDC may modify the number of goals and/or cones before Worlds. Possible intent: GDC will monitor the game competition trends and add/remove objects to make the game more interesting for Worlds.


In the Zone:

For the first time in VRC history since Clean Sweep (edit: still a long time), the robot will not start on a colored tile. Now, the colored tiles are only used for parking at the end of the match. Possible intent: Change for the sake of change?


In the Zone:

There is a length/width (horizontal) expansion limit but no height expansion limit. Robots can only expand up to 2 × 2 tiles in horizontal area. Possible intent: To prevent wallbots.


Not quite:

One cone possession?!?!?

you can control a stack which means to have a mobile goal with any amount of stacked cones on it. outside that you can have only 1 unstacked cone

Im aware of this but one cone possession seems odd. This is the first year where expansion is limited. One thing I wonder is if very tall robots will tip and be larger than the “horizontal expansion” while on their side. Will they measure expansion before inspection and during matches?!? Seems like a hard rule to enforce

I’m not sure how it will be enforced. I’m thinking maybe during inspection they ask you if you expand, if so they have you expand and measure. Just a theory.

Well it’s not quite the first time that expansion is limited, just last year in NBN you couldn’t expand at all.

The tiles are approximately 2 feet, so on the field you can estimate your size. They might measure some teams only if they seem close to the maximum size.

thats true

There was a very similar and somewhat problematic rule in force for VEX IQ Bank Shot. No vertical limit, but a sizing box limit. The robot had to fit within a 13X20 inch floor space, and could not expand outside that space. There was no height limit. It was advantageous to extend upward. Sometimes, when dumping balls into a goal, the robots would lean and trigonometry being what it is, “expand” beyond 20 inches. This violates the rule. It could only happen when loaded with balls and attempting to score, when the balls were rolling off the robot’s goal feeder. Not exactly the time to run over and put a sizing box around the robot. When the balls fall into the goal, (and off the rails of the goal feeder) the robot tips back into compliance.

There was quite a bit about this rule on the VEXIQ forum. And, Refs did call robots for it at Worlds. They didn’t call it every time it happened, but they called it sometimes. DQ.

Additionally, if a tall robot fell over, it would be out of compliance. @Karthik ruled that was a violation if they were falling over to gain an advantage, such as knocking balls out of ramp cutouts to score. I don’t believe it was a violation if it wasn’t advantageous.

Also, In Nothing But Net, it was considered a violation of the “no horizontal or expansion” rule if you ended up dragging a battery outside your 18 by 18 footprint, for instance. So they’ll probably be strict on the rule, if such situations from the past can inform us about the future.

Ah, thanks! My VRC game memory only goes back to Round Up. :wink:

Regarding the size limit, I think the intent is to prevent wallbots or other wide designs that are clearly outside the limit. However, I do wonder what happens if a robot tips over. There’s no “punishment” listed for the rule.

Someone in another thread also noted the absence of SG7. :o

@TexasVex If that’s the auton definition, could you make a sensor interpret human inputs to alter the auton a bit? I remember in 2014 FRC, team 254 was able to exploit a rules discrepancy to use an XBox Kinect to control their robot in auton. Could a similar strategy be used here?
In this match they used it to make their robot shoot at a specific goal (since a random goal would be worth additional points):

It has been ruled here on the forums by Karthik, that you can not use human actions to influence the autonomous. I can’t find the specific reference right now however.

That was our whole teams idea also.

<G8>. I’m not going to quote the rule because firefox hates the manual (or vice versa), but that’s the rule.

say you stack cones on a mobile goal would in still be consider possessing more than one cone if you only touch the very bottom cone

According to the Stacked definition, Note 2:

As stacked cones do not count toward the possession limit, suddenly having a tower of cones considered not stacked (i.e. by touching the cone on the bottom) would put you in violation of the limit.

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Is it legal to hold the sides of a stack (Mobile goal on bottom with cones piled on top). Like is it possible to hold the cones on top to prevent the stack from tipping?

See the post above yours. Holding any cone besides the top cone will result in unStacking of all the cones above it, making that an illegal strategy. Holding the top cone is legal, but will count toward your possession limit, meaning you cannot pick up another cone while doing so.

I don’t mean actually holding it. All the cones would still be stacked, there would just be metal on all sides to prevent it from falling over. So I guess the question is does the top cones resting on metal count as holding that cone?