Rulings at Benton county fair

For the record, they didn’t say this exactly. They said that they would continue applying SG3 as they have been (DQing teams and even whole alliances for non-DQable offenses) during the qualification rounds, and would change to the correct interpretation for the elimination rounds. I do not think this is fair, especially to the team that was DQed in the qualification rounds for the actions of their partner. The DQs easily could have been reversed without re-playing the matches.

EDIT: And to this point, in Q67 8481Z was DQed for bumping the platform while trying to retrieve a mobile goal that their opponents had hoarded in the corner.

Another big point made though, which lacsap mentioned, is that VRC Hub does not have the most updated version of the game manual. This explains a lot. It is also, frankly, completely ridiculous. VRC Hub is an Official App from VEX. It is the most convenient way to access the game manual at events and for it to have an outdated version of the game manual a week after a very important update is unacceptable.

@Dave_Flowerday Do you have an estimate for when the game manual in VRC hub will be updated?

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I didn’t catch that it would only be for elimination rounds. Doesn’t make sense to me, if you’re going to change the way a rule is enforced during an event, best to do it as soon as possible. And I agree that DQ’s issued to teams for incidental contact should be reversed, I imagine it must be possible to do that in TM software.

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They acknowledge first competition of the season would raise a lot of Q&A.

During one match the referee declared this situation as not hoarding since the alliance was not touching the mobile goals they stashed in the corner:
32 seconds left in match:
image
17 seconds left in match:
image

I do not recall seeing requirement of contact of robot in definition of hoarding.

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Agreed. There is some ambiguity in the rules, but I think a lot of the issues at this event are from the refs not being familiar enough with the rules. Ref training videos absolutely need to be released before worlds qualifying events take place.

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hoarding seems incredibly difficult to call as a ref, because the goals often end up in corners. And if many robots try to grab those goals at once the hoarding definition can easily be met, even if the team in violation has no intent to hoard but is only trying to grab a goal.

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Well watching red actively block access to three mobile goals with one or two of their bots there for last 30 seconds of match is not a stretch about “intent”. I think that referee should have alert possibility of hoarding around 30 seconds when both red were protecting side with three mobile goals. That is if referee thought it was hoarding. Apparently not, since it was explained by referee that the robots must be touching the mobile goals for it to be considered hoarding.

Now, I may be wrong, but I do not see where states contact mobile goals, but just place them in corner. <SG7> from game manual:

<SG7> Hoarding of Mobile Goals is limited. Robots may not Hoard more than one (1) Mobile Goal at once.

Minor violations of this rule that do not affect the Match will result in a warning. Match Affecting offenses will result in a Disqualification. Teams that receive multiple warnings may also receive a Dis- qualification at the Head Referee’s discretion.

Note: Hoarding is not a time-based activity (i.e. a 5 second count, like Trapping). As soon as a Robot places multiple Mobile Goals in the corner of an Alliance Home Zone, they are at risk of causing a Hoarding violation.

In this specific match, Blue won, so not match affecting.

As the two red we responsible for goal motion into corner, they did have opportunity in last 30 seconds to move some away, provide access to other alliance to those goals.

Early season observations.

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no I agree that your example was clearly hoarding, but I’m more referring to those corner field tussles that occur almost every match, where the alliance who’s side of the field the tussle is occurring does sometimes meet the definition of hoarding, when they’re just trying to grab a goal and opponent robots are as well.

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What is great about this match, that is how it started, as a tussle between the alliance across four tiles for three mobile goals, it was just prior to 32 snapshot that red pushed blue out of the way and pushed goals into a one tile corner.

This is good learning for teams and officials.

To your point, referees are not going to have it easy. For example, objects that land under a platform preventing from it balancing. You will need to follow which robot caused the action. Match 54 this happened, and although I remembered which alliance caused mobile goal to go under, I could not recall which specific robot did it. <SG3> is going to be hard. Robots are responsible for their actions, and in rules like <SG3> “intent” is not associated with the rule. Depending on the referee you may have more leniency but as a competitor I would want to be careful about these rabbit holes.

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Interesting thing happened in finals 1, the incorrect (but consistent) auton scoring actually affected the outcome of the match.

autono

Red was given the auton bonus because the event counted those two neutral goals, but technically neutral goals can only be considered scored at the end of the match, not the end of auton. So if auton scoring had been done strictly to the manual, blue would have won the auton bonus because the robot in the top right corner put 3 rings into that alliance goal they have, which according to the manual, is the only way to score points for auton.

The final score for the match was 100 to 93, in favor of red. If auton was being scored correctly at this event, the final score would have been 80 to 113, in favor of blue.

Red went on to win finals 2 (whose results were not affected by incorrect autonomous scoring, auton would have still been a tie had it been scored according to the manual), and thus the whole tournament.

Had blue won finals 1, they would have had a chance to potentially beat red in finals 3, but we’ll never know who would have won that match because it never happened.

But it is entirely possible that the winners of finals would have been different had auton been scored correctly.

I’m not at all contesting the results of the tournament, all teams played well and none of them are at any fault for the unfortunate scoring that occurred. And I’m definetely not saying any teams “deserved” to win matches they didn’t, or that any teams didn’t deserve to win matches. And honestly, the event isn’t to blame either (when it comes to auton scoring that is, they did some other things wrong that are not ambiguous), because while there is a q&a confirming goals and robots on platforms are not worth anything for auton, there is absolutely nothing about neutral goals or rings on them. All anyone has to go off of is those 6 words in the manual, “at the end of a match”, and who can blame someone for not noticing them?

Additionally, if auton had been scored right at this event, people likely would have run different auton routes that don’t include the neutral goals or the platforms, and that would have changed the outcome of countless matches, not just finals 1.

So it would be inaccurate to say that had scoring been done properly, blue alliance would have won the tournament and red would have lost. It’s impossible to say that would have happened, because the entire tournament would have been very different.

The reason I’m pointing this one match out is to emphasize that because of the gdc’s inaction regarding these scoring clarifications, this tournament might have turned out very differently than it did today, and while that doesn’t matter for small, local tournaments, it’s kind of an issue when that happens at a signature event that qualifies teams for the world championship. Because the fuzzy auton scoring rules were left up to the events interpretation (which I can’t blame on them because of how fuzzy the rules really are), teams might not get to go to worlds that otherwise would have.

So basically what I’m trying to say is GDC, fix these rules. Before another event happens, and the same issues occur. And not just in the Q&A, because most people don’t actually look at the Q&A, and as we saw at this event, the Q&A about platforms scoring during auton had no affect. It needs to explicitly state in the manual what does, and what doesn’t count towards winning auton. If it doesn’t get addressed, more and more events will be run, all of them scoring auton in different and incorrect ways, and competitors and event staff alike will become increasingly confused and aggravated, with some teams spending days, potentially weeks creating complex auton routes that are great at some events, and worthless at others because there are no clear rules about what is or isn’t worth points.

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Not an easy game to ref this year. In the second final, looked like Red nudged Blue into the platform with about 21 seconds left, which should have either been a DQ (based on the rules as applied during qualifiers) or an award of 30 points (the “elevated robot” based on the updated SG3 on 27-Jun-2021).

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There are so many things to keep track of for the refs. They have to watch the time and platforms after the 30 sec mark, corners for hoarding, pinning and entanglement when fighting for goals. There also seems to be a lot of judgment calls, like the goal fight and hoarding. This might me the hardest year to ref there has ever been.

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didn’t even notice that as it happened and I had a better view of the field than any of the refs. Difficult game to be sure between the hoarding and platform touching rules.

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I mean, as you can see in the picture Xenon put above, they had 4 refs… They were all just on the exact same side of the field…

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I think your point here is a good one - the head referee should watch the whole field and have scoring referees on each alliance side. With that positioning, head referee can scan for issues across whole field, and scoring referees can watch specific locations. However, that is not spelled out as best practice for VRC - in soccer it is very effective, your referee is following play on whole field, while Assistant Referees are there to assist center referee. Also, not every event has more than one qualified referee.

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I might sound harsh here - but why do RECF even allowed this signature event to happen in the 1st place?

I thought having a certified head referee is one of the must-have requirements for signature events? and how abt the part on having qualified staff/volunteers?

I understand that the training videos are not ready yet… then shouldn’t RECF advise the EP accordingly to put this event in a later, appropriate dates?

This is the document (updated as of 13 Apr 2021) on signature event - https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2019/04/signature-event-requirements.pdf/

And we have not even touch on the issue of having 4 spots just for 29 teams.

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couldn’t agree more, there was really no reason to have a worlds qualing event this early. The first event of the season shouldn’t be able to qualify you to the last.

I really don’t know what to think about sig events qualling for worlds. On one hand, they provide a good experience with high level competition (well, if they’re held not so early in the season that is). But on the other hand, it seems to me like they reward teams that can fly out to multiple sig events every season, giving them many shots at a worlds qual. I think maybe some of those spots could be better used on regions that don’t get nearly enough, such as yours.

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Although nothing will likely come of this post (sadly) I want to acknowledge how much I agree with everything you mentioned. Hopefully you at least take comfort in the fact that you are indeed not crazy (shocking, right?) and that at least one other person on earth thinks you are absolutely correct

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You can give RECF and VEX some benefit of doubt that they have planned this Signature Event way in advance and did not expect that due to pandemic or other things there will be low attendance.

You can also say that they planned the grand sequence of Game Manual updates and were going to release ref training videos earlier, but were overcome by the current events and fell behind the schedule not intentionally.

However, they keep ignoring and not acknowledging any backlog of Q&As and, as far as I understand, didn’t even bother to send an RSM to the first Signature Event of the season, knowing that there were no ref training videos or that there are lots of ambiguity interpreting current rules…

It felt sad and in contrast to previous seasons, how GDC members were responding to concerns raised in 3D printing and pneumatics topics. If my memory serves me right, even with BO1 vs BO3 there were more attempts at explanation and less condescention.

It seems to me like RECF and VEX are way too preoccupied with something else to pay attention or care about concerns raised by community or with competition season.

What could have been a happy escape from another year of pandemic reality is shaping up to be another source of unnecessary frustration.

Honestly, after many seasons of doing VRC, and with uneasy heart, I am ready to turn the page on it.

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While it would be great if RECF/GDC did things differently, ultimately we have little if any influence over their actions. Instead, we can only control our response to those actions. Remember that one of the primary reasons to get involved in robotics was to have fun. So go back to the basics, and do what is fun!

If you were at the competition and disagreed with the head ref’s interpretation of the rules, once it became clear that was how things were going to go moving forward, teams had a few paths to go down:

  • Be upset and focus their ire at the refs, EP, RSM, RECF, GDC, etc.
  • Adapt to the new circumstances and make the most of it

I understand the need to vent, and the natural response where one’s expectations are not met. Take a deep breath when this happens, and try to find a positive path forward.

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Hello Everyone,

The REC Foundation would like to address the concerns brought to our attention regarding the Benton County Fair VRC Signature Event. First, I would like to share our gratitude and appreciation for the Event Partners and event staff that made this event possible. I would also like to congratulate all the teams that participated in this event. I am genuinely impressed with their initiative to kick-start their season with some impressive robot designs, and it was fun to watch robots in action with the new game.

We have listened to your concerns and will be revisiting the process on how we schedule and support Signature Events in the future to provide an improved experience for the event staff and teams. We agree that these types of events should likely be scheduled further along in the season so that updates to the Game Manuals and additional Referee training resources can be available.

I want to thank each of the participating teams for their willingness to work with the event staff throughout this process. This event did provide valuable insights that will assist to improve VRC events for the remainder of the season and I greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thank you,
Lisa Schultz

REC Foundation
VP of VEX Programs

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