Programming and Driver Skills Award combined this year

Getting ready for the season, I noticed the lack of Programming Skills award in the standard trophy packs. Digging deeper I found this explanation in Appendix D - description of awards

So now robot skills award is award to teams with both good standing in both programming and driving skills.

Appendix D - VRC Awards

This is great! Along with adding Autonomous Points as the second basis of ranking teams, RECF has done a good job of boosting the importance of programming in competitions.

This additional incentive will hopefully go a long way to introduce more students to programming.

Huh, weird seems like this should have gotten a special announcement. I’m guessing that a lot of people (like me) didnt read the whole programming skills manual because it’s rather repetitive. Anyways good catch hopefully eps catch on.

I don’t know if it boosts the importance of programming since with the old way, it was often programming skills alone that gave a worlds qual, while (if a state had the right number of teams) robot skills didn’t.

What? I think this will actually de-ephasize the role of programming. I am not in favor of this as I like to encourage programming in the learning in robotics.

I’d like to see the analytics behind this decision. I will also look at the events my guys competed in last season (and maybe a few seasons before) to compare the skills run scores. So more to come but I’ll come back with facts form tournament data.

A straight adding of the scores would tend to favor the driving skills as people generally score more there in regular tournaments. Sometime it is by a huge margin. So it will end up de-emphasizing the programming portion of the skills run even more. Games’ score ranges change from year to year, but in a high scoring game like we had last year, the drivers skills tend to greatly overshadow the programming skills.

If you looked at lowest score from adding the ranking of the two kinds of scores, then that would be a more equal weighting of driver skills and programming skills.

I would think up until the point that the scores were fairly close it would take less work to add points to the lower score than to the higher score. If a team was first in robot skills in the world I think it would be easier for them to have added 320 points into their 0 programming skills score than to their 400 robot skills score.

What it does mean is that skills will no longer ever be won at an event by a team who didn’t actively try for skills. Prep work and programming will win out over a quick build.

Not so sure. Look at the current skills scores to date.
Top robot skills sore: 59
top programmings skills score: 19

Yes, 8065B would win over the others due to the combined scores. But those score ranges are very far away form each other.

It does seem like this system favors driver skills scores, but teams will have to do well in both to place in a top spot.

“Drivers skills challenge” used to be called “robot skills challenge”. A lot of people already called it “driver skills” already. That will be a nice change, the new terms are a better fit.

One thing I saw competitions was teams ONLY doing robot skills, and the teams skipped programming skills. This system won’t reward those teams with a trophy.

I wonder if we will now have a single Robot Skills world ranking list for determining invite spots for state championships and worlds. The system of how teams were invited alternating between the two lists is/was broken. A team that was 8th place in driver skills might get a state invite over a team that was in 3rd place for programming skills because of how other teams qualified.

I think using this season is a little flawed. It is just so early into the season. Just about every score on either skills is from Singapore and those robots were built way to quickly to actually have programming skills runs. They used time instead of more consistent sensors.

Going off last year
1st in programming with 347 scored 335 and was 49th in robot
2nd in programming with 339 scored 361 and was 23rd in robot

There is a better correlation between driver skills rankings and tournament performance so that makes sense. Would be interesting to crunch the numbers and see if I am right though.

It gets confusing with who qualifies through what different avenue, so I’ll admit that I might have an error in this list. Here is how our state’s 2016 MS championship invitation list breaks down.

Invite 1: Programming Skills 1st place
Invite 2: Robot (driver) Skills 7th place
Invite 3: Programming Skills 7th place
Invite 4: Robot (driver) Skills 8th place
Invite 5: Programming Skills 11th place
Invite 6: Robot (driver) Skills 9th place
Invite 7: Programming Skills 15th place
Invite 8: Robot (driver) Skills 15th place
Invite 9: Programming Skills 17th place
Invite 10: Robot (driver) Skills 18th place

I think that 7th place programming skills score should be invited before the 7th place driver skills.
Changing to a system that used a combined Driver+Programming score would make sense to me.

The document relating to qualifying has not been released yet. This thread only refers to the new combined Robot Skills Award for events. I think it encourages teams to make an attempt to do both programming and driver skills runs.

Right, no confusion there. (BTW, thanks for your original post pointing out the change to the awards.)

Now that it’s a combined award it makes you think perhaps they could carry that concept over to the qualifying criteria for Worlds or state championship invitations. I think it would be a good idea if they did.

I’m confused. Does this mean there is one award for skills now? only a single award and it’s given to a team with the highest score when their programming skills and driver skills scores are combined? If so, to me, this seems to be nearly the equivalent of eliminating the importance of programming skills. Since when do programming skill scores get close to driver skills scores? I would think driver skills scores would overwhelm programming attempts and kids would no longer bother with doing their best in programming. Am I interpreting this correctly?

I would seem to mean that not doing programming skills will more or less guarantee that you lose. If getting say 5 more points in robot skills is easier than getting 5 more points in programming skills it is true that people will choose robot skills. But the diminishing returns should mean that eventually programming skills scores will have to improve across the board.

This is my take as well. Get more teams trying the programming skills runs .

Okay, I can see this effect kicking in but only after kids have reached a very high level of driving skills. In the early part of the season, I think driver skills will swamp programming skills by far. And teams who are excellent builders and programmers but can’t find a good driver might never get to strut their specific stuff. I don’t understand why it was so important to combine these two skills into a single award.

Well a teams programming skills score is a lower bound for what they get in robot skills. You can’t do worse in programming even if your driver is literally nonexistent.

I totally agree that in early season when a robot doesn’t last long enough to ever have a programming skills run made for it robot skills will feel more important. This rule changes that paradigm though.

Imagine if your robot could hang, what is an easier 12 points?

  1. driving better to launch 6 more stars into the far zone
  2. making a programming skills that only hangs

It is pretty easy for the low hanging fruit in driver skills to run out. Think of the preloads in NBN or the skyrise in skyrise. The marginal cost of the next point is very much nonconstant.

I like that it moves programming more to center stage. Same with the autonomous replacement of SPs. I guess I don’t understand how this change moves driver to more important?
We’ve always tried to do both equally and it’s really helped the kids grow.

Combining scores like this for a single award might make sense at a highly competitive venue like Worlds, but I think it will totally kill the motivation of teams who might not be interested in the “radio-controlled race car” aspect of Vex robotics. For those teams who are more focused on the “true” robotic aspect of Vex, (mechanics and sensors and programming), they might lose interest since the Programming Award might have been their one and only “thing”.

Or it rewards teams that are more balanced in their approach to the Robotics season.