Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

A discussion forum for proposed changes to the AWS rules (2014)

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EpicentrE
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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:21 pm

If we do need to specify a percentage amount in the rule rather than change the method of enforcing the rule altogether, 20% or 25% minimum seems to be a reasonable number to me. I would still like to try less, even though I understand that might be going too far - as I've said, I'm all for experimentation in this matter. It's worth remembering that the same percentage on a larger arena (such as mine and Andy's) correlates to a larger drop-off area. Would it be better to specify a minimum amount in size rather than percentage because of this?

If we are doing percentages, I agree that 50% maximum would also be good to put in to ensure that current arenas can still be used, although I would hope that if it is the case that the vast majority of people prefer less drop off, people who currently own 50% drop off arenas would consider adding some extra walls to bring them in line.

I also agree that if we're formalising this rule, a minimum width per drop-off should be specified. I would argue however that 20cm is a more reasonable minimum than 30cm. When being pushed, it's not like you need your entire robot to be between the walls in order to fall off. In most cases if one edge of your machine touches a wall, your robot is just going to rotate around it and fall in anyway.

I also feel it's worth bringing up another section of this rule which I didn't mention in my first post:

50mm is the recommended height for arena walls.

This obviously can't refer to "full" walls, so I can only assume it refers to short walls on non-drop-off edges of an arena (such as around Oliver's arena). I don't really know whether this is required, but if it is, it should probably be an enforced minimum to stop shenanigans such as the very low walls Oliver had on his arena that one time which people could just drive backwards over they were so low. I wouldn't want to enforce a maximum, however, as I'd again like to see experimentation in this field. Due to construction methods, most arenas typically have 50% of the outside by full walls. I wouldn't mind seeing arenas with - as well as the full walls and the drop-offs - some intermediate sized walls (say 10-20cm high) such that a well-aimed flip from a pneumatic flipper or a good hit from a vertical spinner could send someone over it, but horizontal spinners or robots hit by them would generally be saved. I'd personally like to return to being scared of spinners because they can damage you, not because you're likely to leave the arena after one solid hit, and on the flip-side, I'd prefer it if spinners could avoid flying out of the arena after one unfortunate hit. I'm not at all for making our spinners like American spinners, where because there are no pits, drop-offs or low walls they can just be completely uncontrollable and go flying all over the place after every hit. I think with the drop-off that we will always have we cover that situation already. I'd just like spinners to do what they're designed to do without constant fear of almost certain self-destruction on any bad hit.
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Andrew_Hibberd » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:55 pm

I think most people are of the opinion that larger arenas are better but we may struggle with car sizes.

For the drop off rules; I have had a play with the numbers, could I have positive and negative comments about this and we can take a consensus on the way forward. It will allow all current arenas with some low walls added to the existing drop off sides but will also allow some customization.

Code: Select all

3a) All battles must take place in a battle box, regardless of weapons being used in the battle.
4mm polycarbonate is the minimum recommended thickness. With no gaps greater than 2mm for safety.

3b) The arena will be a raised platform with an area of at least 35.4 inches (900mm) square.

3c) 20-30% of the arena circumference must be a pitted drop off with a minimum of 2 gaps each being a minimum of 225mm wide. (This means  900-1200mm arenas can have 2-4 drop offs.  For the 900mm arena with 2 drop offs must be at least 360mm to meet the 20%)
20-40% low walls 1-3" high, minimum 75mm width lengths
30-60% of the arena should have walls over 5" high, minimum 75mm lengths

3d) The minimum distance between the edge of the unwalled part of the arena and the battle box (and therefore the width of the ditch) is 140mm.
TEAM GEEK!

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by StuartL » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:05 pm

Andrew_Hibberd wrote:

Code: Select all

3a) All battles must take place in a battle box, regardless of weapons being used in the battle.
4mm polycarbonate is the minimum recommended thickness. With no gaps greater than 2mm for safety.

3b) The arena will be a raised platform with an area of at least 35.4 inches (900mm) square.

3c) 20-30% of the arena circumference must be a pitted drop off with a minimum of 2 gaps each being a minimum of 225mm wide. (This means  900-1200mm arenas can have 2-4 drop offs.  For the 900mm arena with 2 drop offs must be at least 360mm to meet the 20%)
20-40% low walls 1-3" high, minimum 75mm width lengths
30-60% of the arena should have walls over 5" high, minimum 75mm lengths

3d) The minimum distance between the edge of the unwalled part of the arena and the battle box (and therefore the width of the ditch) is 140mm.
Suggestions:
  • Standardise on either metric or imperial.
  • Increase the maximum circumference for drop-off to 50% to allow existing arenas to be used if preferred.
  • Specify the minimum 'low wall' height but no maximum, allowing existing arenas to be used if preferred.
  • Increase the ditch width to (sqrt(2) * max(robotwidth,robotheight) + someslack) so that a robot can fall cleanly into the ditch at any angle. 150mm should be sufficient.

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Psychostorm » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:18 pm

EpicentrE wrote:Some however argue that intentionally trying to tip the balance of successful designs and strategies in a way intended to make more kinds of robots and strategies have an equal chance is not something that should be done. There are also those who believe that reducing the drop-off will actually tip the balance far further in the other direction, making pushers far less effective than other robots.
An opinion outside of your opinion, Scott. You all believe it to be unequal and unfair now but is that fact? Yes? I challenge you all to prove it before you vote.

You either fall off or you don't. You either get pushed off or you don't. You get flipped out or you don't. You spin out or you don't. 50/50%

The arena is currently equal. It has two sides with walls & two without walls. 50/50%. Equal. In the rules.

IMO when you leave this incredibly fair & equal arena design, you are to blame. It was your responsibility at every step to avoid it regardless of:
  • How fast & powerful antweights were when the rules devised.
  • How fast & powerful antweights are now.
  • What design your antweight has.
  • What components your antweight has.
  • How well you can drive.
  • What design your opponents antweight has.
  • What components your opponents antweight has.
  • How well your opponent can drive.
  • infinite etcetera
In addition most designs, bar a few, can push someone off that drop off. Why penalize the many for the design decisions of a few?

The only variables to any , asides dumb luck, are the design of the robot you chose at the start of build process (fair), your driving skills (Very fair), the design of the opposing robot you chose at the start of their build process (fair) your opponents driving skills (unavoidable - nature of competition).

[(your design + your tech + your driving+ dumb luck) - (their design + their tech + their driving + dumb luck + draw luck)] ^ rounds

IMHO, no-one should be building antweight robots purely to win, no matter what the arena designs are. That is greed. Cardinal Sin. One way ticket to bringing out the worst people. One step towards arguing with the judges or disrespecting your opponent.

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:02 pm

I'm still not sure we realistically need to specify different percentages for each type of edge (drop-off, small wall, full/high wall). However if we are specifying percentages, those above are fairly reasonable, and still allow differentiation between designs. You could, for example, have:

20% drop off, 60% high wall, 20% low wall
30% drop off, 30% high wall, 40% low wall

And anything in-between those two.

I'd still be concerned that this would make existing arenas fall outside of the rules without modifications (Pete's, for example) or a complete change in design (Oliver's).

Last point, why 225mm for the minimum drop-off size? Seems an odd number.

Edit: Response to Ceri, as he posted while I was posting;

I have never, ever stated my opinions to be fact. I tried to be as unbiased as possible while writing the first post of this thread, but obviously it's difficult for me to be entirely unbiased when I am firmly on one side of the discussion, and so I of course welcome opposition. I have said, and I will continue to say, that I am not attempting to impose my will or opinions on others, nor do I believe that my opinions should be free from criticism.

Onto your points;
You either fall off or you don't. You either get pushed off or you don't. You get flipped out or you don't. You spin out or you don't. 50/50%
Stating two things next to each other in a sentence does not imply equal probabilities. The sentence "You either win the lottery or you don't" does obviously not imply that you have a 50% chance of doing so, so I cannot see what the purpose of this sentence is.
The arena is currently equal. It has two sides with walls & two without walls. 50/50%. Equal. In the rules.
The arena having equal amounts of walls and drop-offs does not imply that all fights that take place within the arena are also equal. It implies that the ratio of the types of edges that make up the circumference of the arena are equal. I don't believe there is any correlation between the equality of edge types in the arena to the equality of battles between robots, especially those of different types.
IMO when you leave this incredibly fair & equal arena design, you are to blame. It was your responsibility at every step to avoid it regardless of: <snip>
I assume this is a collective "you" to all the people who agree with the rule change, rather than an attack on me personally, as I've certainly not been the only supporter of less drop-off, even if Andy and I were the first ones to try it seriously in a tournament setting. All those things you have mentioned of course matter and affect the outcome, and doing any one of them better or differently will affect the outcome - no-one could argue against that. What you appear to be suggesting here is that if your robot loses, it was entirely the fault of you and robot, with absolutely no external factors, and you should've built something that doesn't lose. This seems contrary to what you say at the end of your post regarding not "building to win".
In addition most designs, bar a few, can push someone off that drop off. Why penalize the many for the design decisions of a few?
This is true, but if machine A is better at pushing someone off a drop-off than machine B, and the arena is such that you're most likely to win by pushing someone off a drop-off, then machine A is superior in that regard. Just because almost every robot can do it doesn't imply that all robots do it equally. One of my arguments, and those of others in this thread, is that because winning in this manner is the most dominant type of win in our current arenas, any robot other than one designed to take as much advantage of that as is possible is immediately at a disadvantage. If you're suggesting they don't build a machine that is at a disadvantage in our current arena design, then you are encouraging them to "build to win".
[(your design + your tech + your driving+ dumb luck) - (their design + their tech + their driving + dumb luck + draw luck)] ^ rounds
Whatever your opinions of whether our arena should be changed or not are, you cannot deny that arena design has to factor into this formula. If we happened to be having this discussion in America where most of the arenas have no pits or drop-offs, we'd be instead be asking what we can do to make incredibly powerful spinners and heavily armoured boxes less prominent. If you're not including it in the formula then you're suggesting arena design doesn't matter, which is what you're arguing against.
IMHO, no-one should be building antweight robots purely to win, no matter what the arena designs are. That is greed. Cardinal Sin. One way ticket to bringing out the worst people. One step towards arguing with the judges or disrespecting your opponent.
On this point, I can entirely agree with you. I like winning, winning is fun and nice and makes you feel warm inside. But I mainly do antweights to have fun and to challenge myself. There have been many instances where I've been as happy to lose as I am to win, as it has taught me something about myself, my robots, my driving, or my opponent. That said, building a design which you find to be fun and interesting, and then it being entirely ineffectual because it doesn't fit into the metagame that has evolved with our current arena, is not fun. What I want is an arena where as many different types of robots as possible can thrive; where someone doesn't have to bypass their fun idea because they know they will go 0-2 every tournament when their robot is pushed out of the arena within seconds. I want someone to build what they think is fun, and as long as it is a good design (note: not good design considering our current arena, but a good design when taken in comparison to robot combat as a whole), and well driven, have a chance to perform well with it.

This isn't a personal attack, it's a genuine question; if winning is entirely unimportant, why compete? Why not just fight people in the secondary arena in the pits all day, as you'd surely have more fun this way? However, if winning is even the slightest bit important, surely we should be aiming for an environment where people can have as much fun as is reasonable AND win.

I think it's also worth noting that we've had events with less than 50% drop off, and the response from those who competed has been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe it doesn't fit the definition of fair which you are working from, but if almost every roboteer has more fun, and spectators have more fun, isn't that something worth moving towards?
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
http://www.epicrobotics.co.uk

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by razerdave » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:30 pm

If I did antweights solely to win, I'd have given up long ago :P Although I do get frustrated at losing.

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Rhys » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:16 pm

Hmm... I can feel this one drifting off already...

Anyway, as most arenas have 2 high walls already built into them, it seems like that's a no brainer to have at least 50% high walls. Then the rest should be up to the organiser, as long at they have at least 25% drop off. Then the remainder can be high walls, low walls or drop off. This way you can still keep the current arenas, and still have events like we have now, but also have scope to experiment. Adding walls to current arenas isn't going to be a major headache.

But before we go any further, can I ask one of the committee members, how will this decision of a rule change be made? Is it up to the committee to reach a consensus, or vote on, or will it be based on public opinion? The majority of comments here has been for a smaller drop-off, but it would be a shame if the 6/7 people on the committee went against popular opinion. To be fair though, I know 3 of them have already said in this thread that they would support a smaller drop-off.

And sorry for the digression, but I'm with Scott on this one, winning is an important part for me. It's not all about the wining, but I'll have a much more fun day if I get a couple of ants in the top 10, rather than all going out in the group stages. If that makes me evil, greedy or a sinner in somebody else's opinion, I honestly don't care.
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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by BeligerAnt » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:38 pm

To answer your question Rhys, as I have posted several times elsewhere, the function of the committee is not to make the rules but rather to make a decision based on community discussion. Without someone to make a decision the debate rambles on for weeks, months, years and nothing ever happens. It's also the committee's (unenviable) task to figure out the wording of any amended rule to fit with the perceived intent of the consensus of the debate. If there is no consensus the committee will have to make a decision of its own. Historically I think the bias has been towards "no change", maintaining the status quo unless there is a majority of community opinion to make a change. I hope all that makes sense (and the rest of the committee agree!).

My fear is that with only a very small number of people participating in the debate the committee somehow have to ascertain the feelings of the "silent majority". Otherwise a small vocal minority could force an unpopular change to the rules. (The foregoing is a general statement, not intended to apply to any particular rule or "vocal minority"!)

Everyone, please encourage others to contribute to the debate!
Gary, Team BeligerAnt

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Psychostorm » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:51 pm

EpicentrE wrote:I have never, ever stated my opinions to be fact. I tried to be as unbiased as possible while writing the first post of this thread, but obviously it's difficult for me to be entirely unbiased when I am firmly on one side of the discussion, and so I of course welcome opposition. I have said, and I will continue to say, that I am not attempting to impose my will or opinions on others, nor do I believe that my opinions should be free from criticism.
Scott, I can see that you have tried to remain neutral very hard. I applaud your effort and your truthfullness no less. This intellectual discourse is a top notch debate.

You have, however, inferred that an opinion was fact. By placing a massive line saying my opinion leads to the inference that what is left is fact. That's misleading.

You won't realise you have inferred that because absolute belief is considered truth. Fact is truth. Brains has trouble telling the difference between what they believe to be fact and actual fact. Perception is facinating.
EpicentrE wrote:
You either fall off or you don't. You either get pushed off or you don't. You get flipped out or you don't. You spin out or you don't. 50/50%
Stating two things next to each other in a sentence does not imply equal probabilities. The sentence "You either win the lottery or you don't" does obviously not imply that you have a 50% chance of doing so, so I cannot see what the purpose of this sentence is.
Yes but they may asn well be. Whatever the probabilities of those events both equal 1. You either win or lose. In the Reading style arena anyway. How is that unfair if everything can happen? For the purpose of the question, what difference would the actual probabilities have over 50/50% ?

Speaking of Lottery:
DO you believe the set of balls or machine affect the results?
EpicentrE wrote:
The arena is currently equal. It has two sides with walls & two without walls. 50/50%. Equal. In the rules.
The arena having equal amounts of walls and drop-offs does not imply that all fights that take place within the arena are also equal. It implies that the ratio of the types of edges that make up the circumference of the arena are equal.
By dictionary definition, the arena design is equal. I can therefore call it equal without hesitation. The fights in it are not equal I made mention in the formula below.
EpicentrE wrote:I don't believe there is any correlation between the equality of edge types in the arena to the equality of battles between robots, especially those of different types.
Don't get that. If there is no correlation between the percentage of edging in the arena to the equality of battles between robots, especially those of different types, What's with the rule change?
EpicentrE wrote:
IMO when you leave this incredibly fair & equal arena design, you are to blame. It was your responsibility at every step to avoid it regardless of: <snip>
I assume this is a collective "you" to all the people who agree with the rule change, rather than an attack on me personally, as I've certainly not been the only supporter of less drop-off, even if Andy and I were the first ones to try it seriously in a tournament setting. All those things you have mentioned of course matter and affect the outcome, and doing any one of them better or differently will affect the outcome - no-one could argue against that. What you appear to be suggesting here is that if your robot loses, it was entirely the fault of you and robot, with absolutely no external factors, and you should've built something that doesn't lose. This seems contrary to what you say at the end of your post regarding not "building to win".
Everyone is 'you' actually. Me included.

I never suggested " you should've built something that doesn't lose." There's no such robot. Dumb luck will beat any robot you put in the arena, just as blindly. Build what you want to, because nothing is more likely to win.

I am saying that if your robot loses, it was entirely the fault of you and robot, with absolutely no external factors.
EpicentrE wrote:
In addition most designs, bar a few, can push someone off that drop off. Why penalize the many for the design decisions of a few?
This is true, but if machine A is better at pushing someone off a drop-off than machine B, and the arena is such that you're most likely to win by pushing someone off a drop-off, then machine A is superior in that regard. Just because almost every robot can do it doesn't imply that all robots do it equally.
Beauty of the sport, Everything has it's strengths & weaknesses. If machine A is better at ripping opponents to shreds than machine B, and the arena is such that you're most likely to win by ripping opponents to shreds, then machine A has an advantage in that regard.
EpicentrE wrote:One of my arguments, and those of others in this thread, is that because winning in this manner is the most dominant type of win in our current arenas, any robot other than one designed to take as much advantage of that as is possible is immediately at a disadvantage.
A disadvantage they chose at the start of their build, ergo fair. Their decision is not my problem, nor the rules, nor the commitees.
EpicentrE wrote:If you're suggesting they don't build a machine that is at a disadvantage in our current arena design, then you are encouraging them to "build to win".
I didn't. You just did, Scott. I suggested they build something abritrarily with no regard for arena design or winning.


EpicentrE wrote:
[(your design + your tech + your driving+ dumb luck) - (their design + their tech + their driving + dumb luck + draw luck)] ^ rounds
Whatever your opinions of whether our arena should be changed or not are, you cannot deny that arena design has to factor into this formula. If we happened to be having this discussion in America where most of the arenas have no pits or drop-offs, we'd be instead be asking what we can do to make incredibly powerful spinners and heavily armoured boxes less prominent. If you're not including it in the formula then you're suggesting arena design doesn't matter, which is what you're arguing against.
That's exactly what I deny. It factors into robot design alone. which would be traditionally a static variable at the time of the competition. This formula would work regardless of what the arena was. Enclosed arena, rule based arena, kitchen table.

I do not believe that arena design is any variable on any competition. I do not believe half of the robots in the system were built with an arena design in mind. Hell, there's a small minority, I reckon that weren't built with anything in mind - most of those pushers.

What I'm more concerned about the increase of judges decisions this may bring.
EpicentrE wrote:
IMHO, no-one should be building antweight robots purely to win, no matter what the arena designs are. That is greed. Cardinal Sin. One way ticket to bringing out the worst people. One step towards arguing with the judges or disrespecting your opponent.
On this point, I can entirely agree with you. I like winning, winning is fun and nice and makes you feel warm inside. But I mainly do antweights to have fun and to challenge myself. There have been many instances where I've been as happy to lose as I am to win, as it has taught me something about myself, my robots, my driving, or my opponent. That said, building a design which you find to be fun and interesting, and then it being entirely ineffectual because it doesn't fit into the metagame that has evolved with our current arena, is not fun.
A disadvantage they chose at the start of their build, ergo fair. Their decision is not my problem, nor the rules, nor the commitees.
EpicentrE wrote:What I want is an arena where as many different types of robots as possible can thrive; where someone doesn't have to bypass their fun idea because they know they will go 0-2 every tournament when their robot is pushed out of the arena within seconds.
How would they win wit the drop off reduced? Double edged sword. Minimise their ability to lose, minimise their ability to win.
EpicentrE wrote:I want someone to build what they think is fun, and as long as it is a good design (note: not good design considering our current arena, but a good design when taken in comparison to robot combat as a whole), and well driven, have a chance to perform well with it.
How does that not qualify for pusher?
EpicentrE wrote:This isn't a personal attack, it's a genuine question; if winning is entirely unimportant, why compete? Why not just fight people in the secondary arena in the pits all day, as you'd surely have more fun this way? However, if winning is even the slightest bit important, surely we should be aiming for an environment where people can have as much fun as is reasonable AND win.
I consider winning more luck that than judgement hence you have to be in it to win it. Besides I do like the attention, the communal social aspect, the challenge of competing against a variety of machines.
EpicentrE wrote:I think it's also worth noting that we've had events with less than 50% drop off, and the response from those who competed has been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe it doesn't fit the definition of fair which you are working from, but if almost every roboteer has more fun, and spectators have more fun, isn't that something worth moving towards?
Yes, it is. If you wish to petition the rule change on the grounds of fun, be my guest. I was never going to go against a democratic vote in favour. As Westminster election proves though - democracy is rarely fair, equal or fun.

Scott, it's' the perception of Fair I am working from', btw.

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by bitternboy » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:22 pm

Determined not to be part of a silent majority as Gary puts it (and I would encourage others to do the same), I would like to say that more or less all of the suggestions on drop off limitations have been to my liking. I would love to see the introduction of low walls and a reduced drop off simply because I miss building flippers which I have moved away from due to the very reasons highlighted at length by Scott and others.
In any case it would be worth a trial run in an AWS warm up competition if not in the AWS itself.
In due course I'll be building an arena of my own and I can assure you, if the rule is changed, it will be different and flipper friendly.
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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by EpicentrE » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:34 pm

Psychostorm wrote:Scott, I can see that you have tried to remain neutral very hard. I applaud your effort and your truthfullness no less. This intellectual discourse is a top notch debate.

You have, however, inferred that an opinion was fact. By placing a massive line saying my opinion leads to the inference that what is left is fact. That's misleading.

You won't realise you have inferred that because absolute belief is considered truth. Fact is truth. Brains has trouble telling the difference between what they believe to be fact and actual fact. Perception is facinating.
Agreed, but I hardly thought it was fair starting the topic with only one point of view, so I tried to elaborate on the other as best as I could. If you wish to write a "case for the opposition", please do so and I'll happily edit it into my original post.
Yes but they may asn well be. Whatever the probabilities of those events both equal 1. You either win or lose. In the Reading style arena anyway. How is that unfair if everything can happen? For the purpose of the question, what difference would the actual probabilities have over 50/50% ?
I clearly misunderstood you here; were you in fact suggesting that given any scenario where a robot is headed towards a side of the arena, whether under it's own force or something else, there's a 50% chance that it would lose as there is 50% drop off? If so, I disagree with this; There's a guaranteed 50% chance that that direction is directly into a drop-off, yes. There's also a chance that you may hit a wall you are being pushed into at an angle, and be slid along the wall into a pit. As a spinner, you are instantly DQed if you hit a pit wall, but you could just as easily bounce off a side wall towards the pit. I think if you ran repeated random tests on above scenarios, they would show a higher than 50% rate for ending up in the pit - especially for the pusher scenario. The spinner scenario would depend on so many other factors that it's harder to call, but I still think it would be over 50%. Even if it were 50%, is it fair that a certain design of robot has a 50% chance of winning when doing what it's designed to do in a random direction, where other designs may have a much smaller chance of success because what they are trying to do has a lower than 50% success rate? Again, if you're not attempting to provide a situation in where different types of designs have equality, then our philosophies are irreparably different.
Speaking of Lottery:
DO you believe the set of balls or machine affect the results?
I hardly see how this is relevant, but the results is affected by billions of variables. Specks of dust, the temperature of the air, the timing of the button press, the exact size, weight, and centre of gravity of every individual ball (even one ball being a billionth of a gram different could end up in a completely different result), the speed of the rotors, the material on the rotors, any tiny un-noticeable wear on the rotor's surface, etc. There's too many to count, simulate, or consider. They all affect the outcome, but not in a way it's possible to perceive or enumerate without simulations the likes of which we likely can't do yet.
EpicentrE wrote:I don't believe there is any correlation between the equality of edge types in the arena to the equality of battles between robots, especially those of different types.
Don't get that. If there is no correlation between the percentage of edging in the arena to the equality of battles between robots, especially those of different types, What's with the rule change?
Left the double quote in here to show that you either changed or misread a word in my original sentence. There is a definite correlation between percentage of edge types and equality in fight outcomes. There is no correlation between equality in edge types and equality in fight outcomes. Big difference.
Everyone is 'you' actually. Me included.

I never suggested " you should've built something that doesn't lose." There's no such robot. Dumb luck will beat any robot you put in the arena, just as blindly. Build what you want to, because nothing is more likely to win.

I am saying that if your robot loses, it was entirely the fault of you and robot, with absolutely no external factors.
I'd rather think the better your design and driving, the more chance you have to not be caught out by bad luck. I also cannot disagree more with the suggestion that no type of design is more likely than something else to win, which is why we're having this entire discussion. Some types of designs are at an inherent disadvantage in an arena with high drop-off. This is as obvious as day to me and I really cannot think how to explain the concept any more succinctly than I already have. If you have a powerful horizontal spinner, such that it displaces itself a lot when scoring a hit, it is quite likely to go out of the arena. That's a weakness of the horizontal spinner design, but it is exacerbated by having more drop-off.
Beauty of the sport, Everything has it's strengths & weaknesses. If machine A is better at ripping opponents to shreds than machine B, and the arena is such that you're most likely to win by ripping opponents to shreds, then machine A has an advantage in that regard.
Yes, absolutely, and I completely agree. All machines are made with sacrifices; a big weapon might mean less armour or mobility, or very high armour and mobility might mean you can't afford to have a weapon. But if the disadvantage of Robot A is that it is not designed to control or push opponents, and the advantage of robot B is that it is designed to control and push opponents, then in an arena with a lot of accessible space to fall off gives the advantage to Robot B. I don't want to remove advantages or disadvantages from competition, I want an arena design that tries it's absolute utmost to balance the advantages and disadvantages of as many different types of robots as possible. A horizontal spinner is still going to be at a disadvantage to a heavily-armour 4wd pusher even in an arena with 10% drop-off, but at least the spinner has a chance to try, and skillful driving coupled with a good design could net it a victory against the odds. In our current arena the spinner would either fly out or be pushed out incredibly quickly, because the arena plays to the strengths of the other machine.
A disadvantage they chose at the start of their build, ergo fair. Their decision is not my problem, nor the rules, nor the commitees.
It's absolutely fair to expect people to understand the weaknesses of their robots. It is - in my opinion - unfair to have an arena in which certain weaknesses are vastly exacerbated when compared to others. I believe it is the job of the rules and committee to ensure that designs are varied and interesting. It makes for more interesting combat (as we've heard from others in this thread), and it makes for more interesting spectating (and getting new people interested is always a good thing).
I didn't. You just did, Scott. I suggested they build something abritrarily with no regard for arena design or winning.
I'm not sure I understand this; if you're stating that they should just build whatever they think is the best thing to build, even if they know they will be at a massive disadvantage in our current arena design, then that to me is not suggesting they have fun. It's suggesting they either build what they want and be at a probably disadvantage, or conform to what is currently successful and be at a probable advantage. What types of designs are at advantages and disadvantages across arena designs is something I've already talked about; I'm not sure I can elaborate any further.
That's exactly what I deny. It factors into robot design alone. which would be traditionally a static variable at the time of the competition. This formula would work regardless of what the arena was. Enclosed arena, rule based arena, kitchen table.

I do not believe that arena design is any variable on any competition. I do not believe half of the robots in the system were built with an arena design in mind. Hell, there's a small minority, I reckon that weren't built with anything in mind - most of those pushers.

What I'm more concerned about the increase of judges decisions this may bring.
The arena is a fixed variable during the fight, but it still has an effect on it. Whether builders design with arena design in mind or not, the arena they're fighting in does affect the outcome of the fight, and does lend advantages to some types of robots over others. I guess the mathematical way to look at it is yes, during the fight the arena is a fixed variable, but it is not a constant, and thus different arenas do affect outcomes.

We have already had people in this thread, and the other, state that there's some designs they want to try but they're put off doing so because they'd be at a weakness against a pusher in a 50% drop-off arena. I hate to see this; I hate to see someone not be able to try something they want to try because the range of designs that can be successful in our arena is very limited. If you believe they should just build it anyway even if it is doomed to be completely unsuccessful, then you're telling them to spend time and money just to lose, and ergo, have less fun.
A disadvantage they chose at the start of their build, ergo fair. Their decision is not my problem, nor the rules, nor the commitees.
Answered this above.
How would they win wit the drop off reduced? Double edged sword. Minimise their ability to lose, minimise their ability to win.
That's assuming their design also revolves around getting the opponent off the arena. It could be a spinner, or a crusher, or an axe (not too effective in ants I know, but for examples' sake), or a very well-controlled lifter/grabber designed to put a robot in a position where it can't self-right, etc.
How does that not qualify for pusher?
It does, of course. I love watching well-designed and well-driven pushers. Excuse me for paraphrasing, but the person who came 2nd at the last AWS with a pusher stated that he found the driving style in 50% drop-off arenas to be boring, and believed the fights would've been much more tactical and skillful with less drop off. This is an opinion I share; I do not want to disadvantage pushers whatsoever such that they are at a disadvantage overall. I merely wish to ensure that when a pusher does win it is through skill and good design, and an opponent with an equally skilled driver and well designed robot - albeit of a different type - is no more at a disadvantage in the fight than the pusher is.
I consider winning more luck that than judgement hence you have to be in it to win it. Besides I do like the attention, the communal social aspect, the challenge of competing against a variety of machines.
Are you actually stating that luck is a larger factor in winning than the other variables involved? If so I find that personally incredibly offensive. Did I have bits of luck on the way to any of my tournament wins? Absolutely. Were they the reason I won? I certainly don't believe so. I wouldn't do this sport if who won or lost came down to luck more than anything, I'd go do something else.
Yes, it is. If you wish to petition the rule change on the grounds of fun, be my guest. I was never going to go against a democratic vote in favour. As Westminster election proves though - democracy is rarely fair, equal or fun.

Scott, it's' the perception of Fair I am working from', btw.
Correct on the correction to "perception" from "definition", that was my mistake.

If this rule gets changed, and competitions are worse because of it, and competitors actually think it's a step in the wrong direction, I will happily admit that I was wrong. But I truly, truly believe that that is not the case, and I care an exceptionally large amount about this community and this sport, and so if the decision is between "try something that many believe will make things better in every way" and "stagnate in a position that many people are unhappy with", I will choose the former.

Main Point

We're going back and forwards a lot here just because I think our opinions differ fundamentally on this topic.

I believe it is the responsibility of the organisers and officials of any sports or game to ensure good variety, balance between strategies, encourage innovation, and reward skill, while at the same time discouraging repetitive aspects, or aspects which take less skill, or strategies that are superior to others in a way that other previously legitimate strategies now become nonviable.

It would appear that you believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that the organisers and officials of any sport or game should instead have a "hands-off" approach, providing the competitors with means with which to compete, but having no further input other than obvious outlier cases. Allowing the nature of the competition and the metagame to evolve towards whatever is most successful, and for competitors to either A) use what is successful, or B) use whatever they want with no care for if they win or not.

My line of thinking likely comes from the fact that I follow a lot of e-sports - or professional video game circuits - where the game developers regularly re-balance aspects of the game to ensure that it is both as fun to watch and to play as possible. They do this by ensuring that things are well balanced so that competitors can be successful with a wide variety of tactics and play-styles. If left unchecked, those aspects of the game which are considered underpowered would be very rarely seen, which would decrease the variety both for players and spectators.

Aside: Sorry for the walls of text, but I do believe this is on topic. However if it's obvious that Ceri and I have irreconcilable differences in opinions there's no point in repeating the same things verbatim, and if it's deemed that it would be more productive to stop our discourse, I will submit to that request.
Scott Fyfe-Jamieson, Captain of Epic Robotics. Champion of AWS38/41/42.
http://www.epicrobotics.co.uk

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BeligerAnt
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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by BeligerAnt » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:21 am

Whilst a philosophical debate on the nature and perception of fairness is all well and good, I do not think it is doing much to further the debate in hand.

This thread is to discuss the arena drop-off rule as currently stated, suggestions for change and reasons for/against.
Gary, Team BeligerAnt

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razerdave
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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by razerdave » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:37 am

Well I've made my opinion known; less drop off, between 25-50% of perimeter, minimum gap of, what, 25-30cm? Big enough to get an ant through easily.

Reason for choice: it encourages driving skill and more weapon variety, and I believe it also levels the playing field, it would mean a lot less of 'who has the lowest front, get under and hit the throttle' as it has been.

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by peterwaller » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:03 pm

Thats a good idea Dave a quick statment of what each person would like the rule to be to see how close we are to a concensus.

Drop off between 25% to 50% of arena perimeter.
Maximum amount of full height wall 55%. (so my arena sneaks in)
All other walls 2.5 to 5cm in height.
Smallest dropoff gap to be 30cms.

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Re: Rule 3c - Arena Drop-off

Post by Rhys » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:32 pm

I'd agree with the 2 comments above. 25-50% drop-off, 30cm minimum gap would make me happy.
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