Rule Debates

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DieGracefullyRobotics
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:58 pm

Hi guys.
The "commercially available" rule is in place, it's just the rules haven't been updated in ages. I'm working on a new draft to get everyone to OK as we speak.

Regarding the rule itself...its a tough one to get right. How it originally came about was (again) my fault. I noticed a loophole which allowed me to enter a hexbug walker (26g if I remember correctly) alongside pretty much a full weight roller as a "clusterbot" for my 4th slot. Lots of people started to follow suit, which lead to this rule being debated and put in place. It is designed to close the loopholes but not to limit people entering who may have less of a skillset than some.

As it stands, the rule bans off-the-shelf, commercially available vehicles (toys, drones, rc models, etc etc) WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT MODIFICATIONS IE. any customisation of parts that changes the vehicle to be significantly unrecognisable from its off-the-shelf counterparts. Therefore, entering a Tombstone toy or an RC car with a 'new shell' is banned but significantly altering a Tombstone toy the way that Josh did at the last AWS is acceptable. It was effectively a new entity and, after all, there's not much difference in using, say, the kit of parts from a Tombstone toy than there is using a kit of parts like a Nanotwo and some motors.

However, the rules also state that you have to be able to change frequencies in order to fight any other competitor. This may outlaw a clusterbot made up of 2 toys if the same two frequencies are present in both machines, because if someone else also entered a modified toy or cluster, the two would not have enough spare frequencies to fight each other. If this ever happened, I guess the cluster could be forced to lose one unit in order to let the opponent take the spare frequency (even normal clusters sometimes make the tactical choice to just run one of their units so this would be acceptable enough in my eyes).

In terms of kitbots or buying up a ready built ant (Shakey commissions and the like.) it was argued that these are built exclusively for the buyer at the time of ordering and therefore NOT classed as off-the-shelf IE. the only way to get one built is to see Shakey. You can't just pop down Argos or Toys R Us (RIP). Shakey doesn't sit with a stock of ready-made wedges for whoever wants one, they are made to order. A slight difference, maybe, but one significant enough for rulings.

Personally, I think buying a ready built robot is a naff way in. I think the best way to learn the sport is to make your own robot (and your own mistakes). It's how I learned. However, I don't believe these robots should be outlawed from competition either, even though they are not exactly my favourite, especially if they knock me out, ha. They allow people access to a proper tournament without having to be super good at everything, and many other people I know started out that way before modifying their kit or using it to learn how to build their own machine, which is great. If we ever reach a stage like in the US where a kit is so good it wins more fights than most "properly-built" robots then we may have to extend the rule to include them, but for now it seems fair enough I think.

I hope this explains most of the questions. If not, holla!
Dave
Die Gracefully Robotics - Barely Even a Proper Team.

Paulmchurd
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by Paulmchurd » Tue May 01, 2018 9:40 am

Arena rules.
3c) At least half of the edge of the arena must be unwalled, to allow robots to drop directly into the ditch that surrounds the arena. 50mm is the recommended height for arena walls.
I have never been to an AWS, however I feel this rule takes away some of the fun of battling.

After watching some AWS on YouTube . Some battles are over in 10seconds. That's not a battle just poor driving.

Is this rule enforced? Or do we see a lot of arenas ignoring this rule?

I think with less area for people to fall off would mean.

More skill needed for people to actually win battles by pushing opponents off the edge and not relying on poor driving.

Longer battles, making it more enjoyable for participants.

Less chance for a spinner to one shot you out of the arena. I want to see spinners wrecking other robots not just bouncing them out the arena.

Sorry if this has been discussed before.

Opinions?

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DieGracefullyRobotics
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Tue May 01, 2018 10:08 am

The arena rule has been altered from this already. Arenas do have less drop off now. But the arguments against drop offs in general always ignore other factors such as the fact antweight fights have to remain short in order to cram the event into a single day. Having been present at a few AWSs that have gone right to the wire in terms of timing, frantic rushing of the final stages of a comp sucks. Minimal drop offs, activated pits and the like have the potential to significantly extend timings on a day and the last thing anyone wants is for the competition not to conclude. Having no drop off at all favours spinners, like in the States where driving skills don't even come into it as you just have to wait for your silly disc to land a blow.
So a balance is needed. Peter's arena is brilliantly balanced in terms of size, drop off and speed of operation. That balance is the important criteria for arena construction. Its not really about size percentages, more about tournament harmony.
Also, "I want to see spinners wrecking other robots" is what people who don't compete often say, with scant regard for the effort/expense of the builder involved. Some are happy for it to happen, some not, but it's definitely not up to those watching to dictate what they want to see. It's up to those who put up the robots whether they want to tap out or keep going. The purpose of an AWS is not to entertain outsiders. It's meant to provide a fun, fair, prestigious competition for those who enter.
One competitors "fun" is another's sadness. Our job as moderators is to encourage all types of builders, styles, opinions, not just go for maximum impact. There should always be a hope that any robot can beat any other robot and the drop off provides that. Like I say, tournament harmony.
Dave
Die Gracefully Robotics - Barely Even a Proper Team.

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voorsk
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by voorsk » Tue May 01, 2018 10:46 am

I'll stick my oar in and say that I quite like the current arena setups (I prefer the Ant Freeze arena), and I like them even more after having recently watched some of the Robogames matches that have summat like 10% gaps.

The fights that go on for 3 minutes usually only do so because the competitors are too evenly matched (or broken). If time is a factor generally, should matches be shortened? It'd allow more time for the fun stuff! :D
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DieGracefullyRobotics
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Tue May 01, 2018 10:51 am

I suggested that before when things started to get very busy. Shortening it from 3mins max to 2 or 2 and a half. But it was voted down. Personally, I agree with you though.
Dave
Die Gracefully Robotics - Barely Even a Proper Team.

Paulmchurd
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by Paulmchurd » Tue May 01, 2018 10:56 am

Fair points. I put the fact I haven't competed in there just clarify my lack of knowledge. I can see now why these rules are in place. I just wanted to see why these rules are in place.

The more popular these events get maybe the need to have a second arena to speed up the event thus allowing more time to make battles longer. As one of the things that puts me off driving 100miles to an event is the fact my 2 battles could be over in less then 30seconds. This would balance out event harmony and more enjoyable battles.

Hard to tell by text but You sound annoyed I've suggested robots should get damaged. Keeping battles short and arenas easy to fall off to avoid robots getting damaged goes against my idea of robots battling. We might as well battle with robots wrapped in bubble wrap. Just my opinion of course.

I am one of those "I don't mind if you break my robot" I've had great fun building and need an excuse to build more. It's always got to be at the back of your mind. Your robot will break eventually it's a battle.

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DieGracefullyRobotics
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Tue May 01, 2018 11:23 am

Ha, I often sound annoyed in writing. Not at all. Anyone here who knows me will vouch that I carry on my battles to the absolute death and will take on any opponent, however nasty. I just always try to point out the other side of things too. I've been doing robot combat well over a decade and seen all the types of people it attracts. My job is to keep them all coming back. Smashing their robot with a spinner is not always the best encouragement, ha. Guess I subscribe to the Rex Garrod school of thought.

It probably also stems from the amount of hate I've had online for some of my projects too. I often get included in "worst Robot Wars contestant of all time" conversations and told my robots should have been smashed to bits fairly often. Those people are normally the "every robot should have a spinner or die!" crowd who don't really appreciate things like creativity or individualism or, well, me. That's the joys of the mainstream TV events, you get exposed to all sorts. The best part about the UK antweight scene for me is that we can control all that noise in favour of whomever wishes to come and join in, be they damage hungry extremists or nervous first-timers who'd rather not be spread like butter. I still believe an AWS is the only "official" tournament of any UK class that truly welcomes all comers and offers them the chance to do it their way.

I get the travel thing too but that's your personal choice really. I have to get on a plane every time I want to go to an event. And we used to have people come over from Holland and Germany often to compete. I guess its up to you what you want out of an event. If the possibility of a short time in the arena puts you off then fair enough. My own fights are only a small part of it for me.
Dave
Die Gracefully Robotics - Barely Even a Proper Team.

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peterwaller
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by peterwaller » Tue May 01, 2018 1:56 pm

Very eloquently put Dave. :wink:
As I have mentioned else where Dave's and my approach to robot designing and building are very different but it is that diversity that makes antweights such a great hobby.
I am always prepared to give advice about how I would design something but it doesn't mean it is the only way to do it.
I would hate it if people were constantly telling me to do things differently so I have to respect others for doing things their own way.
I have a bit of a thing for horizontal spinners even though the engineer in me knows vertical spinners have a lot of advantages. :(

Derek Dudge
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by Derek Dudge » Tue May 01, 2018 11:29 pm

When I started watching ants last year I used to wish there was less drop off in the commonly seen arenas. Then as I watched a lot more footage of tournaments from recent years it won me round a bit.

An arena that saw full 3 min fights too often would be problematic. In fact IIRC at ant freeze 5 it was decided to run 2 min fights anyways because there were a lot of bots on the roster. And then very few fights, if any, went full time.

And now I just feel like 2 mins is enough for an Ant fight. Just with the size of the robots, the scale of various factors. 2 mins for a 1 on 1 match is enough. If there's no clear winner by then there's not likely to be one, the bots are damn well matched and that's what judges are for.

I understand the comcern about travelling to events to maybe only get 2 sub 30 second fights if you lose both. In fact this happened to me at Ant freeze (first event, only had one robot to enter, zero driving practice). It's an understandable concern. I will say that it didn't spoil the day for me at all as I enjoyed watching later rounds and there was chance to mess around in the lunch break and the rumbles and nuts game after the tournament. So I would definitely urge folks not to let that put them off going to events.

A 2nd arena so people that get knocked out early or only have one bot can get more fun in would be cool, but it shouldn't be allowed to distract from the main event. Maybe no spinners in the 2nd box, really it should just be for "friendly" bouts.

And while I think it's no good going into a hobby called combat robotics without accepting your toys will likely get broken at some point, I also think the arenas should try to allow as many kinds of bot to be competitive as possible and not set it up so anyone without a spinner is just fodder. Part of what is great about antweights is seeing so many different robots. If it turned into fifty tiny Tombclones each event it would be a shame.

Which was all a long winded round about way of saying I think the arenas are largely fine as they are.
My robots:

Third Law (antweight) - push/ram bot
Manticore (antweight) - hammer bot

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Lincoln
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by Lincoln » Wed May 02, 2018 3:50 pm

i think the drop off of arenas is fine at the moment, Pete's arena is great in my opinion and don't see a reason for the rules to enforce 1 exact percentage, just say that there has to be some but not all of the arena as drop off. however i do think that there are too many spinners around at the moment, or at least there were last time i went to an event, over a year ago.(busy with A levels, and building AutoBot)

i agree that if a fight gets to 2 minutes it probably would get to 3 minutes without much of a change. but there are some fights that end in the last few seconds of a 3 minute fight that would become judges decisions if the time limit was 2 minuets. Therefor i think we need some proper guidelines and better awareness for judges to make fair choices. Theirs nothing more frustrating than losing because of a judges decision that you genuinely believe you won. so i would say that, sure we can change the time limit to 2 minutes, but we need some documented guidelines for judges.

its good to see you back at the antwight scale Dave :) don't listen to the internet haters, your robots are always amazing, maybe not always at competition but certainly at entertainment.
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DieGracefullyRobotics
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Wed May 02, 2018 3:54 pm

Thanks Lincoln :D

I agree, we could do with some solid judging criteria.
Dave
Die Gracefully Robotics - Barely Even a Proper Team.

AntRoboteer
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by AntRoboteer » Wed May 02, 2018 5:33 pm

The two minute fight concept would not be ideal in the current robot climate.

An example is the following (I know I am focussing more on spinners but I believe there are of course going to be other cases, just these are really game changing):

Currently we have spinners which, while deadly for ~1.5 - 2 mins, are eventually limited in some way by battery power (spinning up on a drained battery is difficult). Therefore, non spinners have the best chance of taking out the spinner in the final minute. There have been multiple cases of spinners failing due to power or being damaged within the final minute recently but very few (if any) judges decisions required.

Additionally, a spinner deals most of the damage in the first part of the fight currently. Due to damage being a very obvious thing to judge on, when fights are taken to a judges decision, the spinner shall almost always be awarded the win. The only thing which will happen if a 2 minute fight rule is implemented is a greater chance of taking the fight to such a judges' decision. This is therefore increasing the probability of an unfair victory/loss.

Changing to 2 mins would swing bias more towards spinners and make other machines uncompetitive while solving a problem we do not have. The fights should stay at 3 minutes in my opinion.

As for the arena, the current arenas are great and there is no real reason for a change there, just a need to document what we do now.

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Lincoln
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by Lincoln » Wed May 02, 2018 8:10 pm

Due to damage being a very obvious thing to judge on, when fights are taken to a judges decision, the spinner shall almost always be awarded the win.
i agree. This is why we need official guidance on how to judge fights, preferably not completely on damage and other factors should be considered more, like control and aggression, which is different from damage. you may say that this would mean that non spinners are Favorited in judges decisions, but i think at least 90% of spinner fights are over pretty quickly and if it lasts 2 minutes then maybe the non spinner deserves to win. i lasted the full 3 minutes against a spinner without relenting and definitely felt hard done by that the judges immediately gave the spinner the win with no thought put into it. but if that fight stopped at 2 minutes nothing would have been different.
Changing to 2 mins would swing bias more towards spinners and make other machines uncompetitive while solving a problem we do not have.
Time may not always be an issue at every event but we all love the fun and games at an event after the main aws. so we could still have some time saving measures. and this spinner bias would be countered by new judging criteria.

so i think the enemy is not the 2 minute time limit change, but a lack of judging guidance.

reading this, it may seem like i'm salty about previous judges decisions, but i'm just campaigning to fix what i see to be the only place where we get unfairness in the competition. for example theirs usually no way to depute if a robot is in the pit or not.
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by AntRoboteer » Wed May 02, 2018 9:13 pm

The only fights that go the 3 minutes need the 3 minutes and the other fights are not impacted by keeping the time frame the same because, as stated, most fights rarely go the 3 minutes.

The 2 minute fight limit would have quite a few adverse effects.

I would propose clear judging criteria (documented in rules ideally) and keeping the 3 minute time limit the same.

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Shakey
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Re: Rule Debates

Post by Shakey » Wed May 02, 2018 10:09 pm

Honestly the amount of fights that would actually swing the other way if stopped at 2 mins instead of 3 is small enough that the benefits of getting more time in the day outweigh those few fights. In the end we'll just adapt to the change and plough on ahead.

I don't think it would even greatly increase any spinner biased, certainly not to horizontals which are already disadvantaged by dropoff. Even a spinner of DHMIS's calibre can run for a heavy 3 mins and the spinners that are in danger of running out of power are not the ones taking a couple of mins to write a bot off.

Certainly I feel the judging criteria being more visible is important. And the raft of unwritten rules it runs under, there's often quite a few debates about a rule that was decided on but never written down and everyone remembers it differently.
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