Dominance of pushers at AWS46

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

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Hogi
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Hogi » Sat May 16, 2015 10:33 am

thanks Dave. :)
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby petec » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:38 pm

Just read this thread from cold - somewhat meandering...

Dominance of pushers - this is always going to be a thing because its what most people do first and can do easiest. We could just ban 4WD (maximum 2 driven wheels) which would reduce grip and power in many pushers and give others a chance.

Length of bouts - look back over the videos and you will see that a lot of spinner fights were over in seconds, even faster than pushers. Would you say that a single blow from a spinner was boring?

Arena design. As someone who has been traipsing arenas about from the very beginning (including the original concrete pad with low walls, rough terrain and no drop off or pit) I can confirm that unless you have a van, the main arena surface needs to be not much bigger than 1m sq. This therefore limits what you can reasonably do regarding pits (need to be big enough to actually drop the robot sufficiently to prevent recovery...unless you want recovery to be a valid option?) and removes the option of multiple levels - something I tried several times to achieve but the ramps end up being too big or steep. The only 'true' equaliser is a single surface, fully enclosed with no drop offs at all. A box, some might say. Pushers can still stack/squash, spinners can do their thing, flippers can repeatedly throw around and axe bots can still cause trouble with wiring and vulnerable spots on the opponent.

Rough terrain, as mentioned earlier, can cause a few upsets and prevents the high grip pushers getting too much advantage. You could use coloured zones that a robot cannot remain in for longer than x seconds, to prevent hiding. You can have automated environment changes that use a random period to kick in, preventing safe prediction.

The point is though, what problem are we actually trying to solve? This is a bit like F1 playing with the formula to make it more entertaining. There is a danger it ends up so convoluted that it detracts from the competition.

Here's a suggestion - fully enclosed, zero dropoff arena but rules governing maximum battery capacity so you know you have to fight to survive, but if your battery runs out before the other guy.....too artificial? :-)
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Hogi » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:43 pm

a fully enclosed arena with no drop offs would make it difficult for any design except maybe a spinner to decisively win a battle and consequently almost every battle would go the full time limit. with the current number of people competing, this would be unpheasable even if we implemented both the two minute time limit and the three robot entry limit. the ban on 4WD might help a bit with the dominance of pushers situation but i've come 2nd in the AWS with a 2WD pusher by driving well to eliminate my opponents. i think the most balanced arena design is Scott's arena how it was at AWS44 and 45. low walls for flippers, lots of fighting room for spinners and limited but useable drop off gaps for robots such as pushers and grabbers that rely on dropping opponents out of the arena. something for everyone.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Remote-Controlled Dave » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:52 pm

I quite like the idea of 'zones', though I'd hate to try and police someone staying in them too long.

However, if we have an arena with a boxed in end and people are worried about their opponent hiding in the corner, maybe something like the old grills on Robot Wars or a sand pit...something not impossible to escape from but undesirable, without being a drop off.

Or just stick a spinning saw in each corner...
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Shakey » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:00 pm

On the banning of 4WD or more than 2 powered wheels this makes me sad. Multiple wheels don't add to the amount of push you can give a robot that you couldn't achieve over 2, their benefit is increased controllability and keeping contact with the ground. Plus many interesting designs use more than 2 powered wheels, Hexa-Chopper would be banned under this rule.

I feel a little guilty over this whole topic to be honest but oh well :P
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Remote-Controlled Dave » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:31 pm

I don't think banning 4WD was a serious suggestion. You cant anyway. The AWS prides itself on allowing all (rule-abiding) robots, however 'boring' the fights may be. This topic was about the arena being bias in favour of pushers, which I think has been pretty much addressed and exhausted.

Also, to blame Stanley is reductionist. Hib started the discussion and he was including his EDF robots as "pushbots" too, which he stated he built purely to try and win, in a competition that Stanley was dominating.

A pushbot should never not be a viable option. If that's what you want to build, that's what you build. But its when you build one because you feel you HAVE to to win that it becomes a problem.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby peterwaller » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:04 pm

I have been giving the arena design quite a bit of thought lately and here are my conclusions for what they are worth.
1 It must fit in my car, preferable assembled, which means it can be a maximum of 1000W x 1300L x 650H although the 1000 reduces at the top.
2 Usually you loose around 300mm off the length for the drop off zone which brings us back to 1000 x 1000 actual arena.
3 Most seem agreed that we can reduce the 50% drop off rule but not by too much to keep it fair for pushers and beginners or people like me who can't drive.
4 I find the fights tend to get slow and boring when robots get stuck in corners.( I know this will be controversial to some)
Putting all these together ( and I am not claiming this design is original) I have come up with an arena that is basically 1000 x 1300 but with each corner being a drop off.
This means that although the drop off is reduced to 36% it should still be possible for pushers to be very effective while giving the maximum area of usable arena.
By making the polycarbonate cover curved it reduces the width at the top while maintaining the arena area.
Here is a rough sketch of my thoughts.
Image
I shall now duck my head back below the parapet and let battle commence.
Just done a quick calculation this gives 13000 sq cm as opposed the one we used in wales which gives 14400 sq cm.

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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Remote-Controlled Dave » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:22 pm

Looks great. Like a pool table.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby EpicentrE » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:31 pm

That looks like a good design Peter, and is a lot better than many of our current designs (although I personally still prefer a little less drop off than it looks like you have there), however in my eyes it has one main problem, which is that it's possible for a pusher to just slide their opponent down a wall into a pit. This was why we added the small corner walls to our arena, which everyone seemed to agree were a good addition.

Edit: Currently you're sitting at around 35% drop off. If you added 5cm long walls to each side of each pit, you'd be sitting at 25% drop off (which was a generally agreed upon number last time we suggested this), and you'd diminish the effectiveness of wall-sliding. What do you think?
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Remote-Controlled Dave » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:44 pm

He's gone Scott, he cant hear you. :-p
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby peterwaller » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:47 pm

Yes I thought people might pick up on that I was trying to get a compromise between reducing the drop off and making it pusher freindly.
I was proposing to have thin polycarb walls along the fully walled sides to stop the main polycarb sheets getting scratched they could extended around the diagonals a little.

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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby EpicentrE » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:53 pm

That sounds like a really good idea. It's impossible to know without testing it in an event, but it sounds like with those extra walls at the sides of the pits it'll tick all the boxes. I'm interested to hear other's opinions.

You have my support, and I'm happy to put a donation towards it.
Last edited by EpicentrE on Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Remote-Controlled Dave » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:55 pm

He's back Scott, he heard you.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby Hogi » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:54 pm

this looks brilliant Peter. i like this design very much. i also agree with the corner walls to prevent wall sliding thing. i'm not sure how long these would need to be for an antweight arena but the ones on my new nanoweight arena are 5cm.
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Re: Dominance of pushers at AWS46

Postby BeligerAnt » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:46 pm

Whilst I like the concept, I can see an immediate problem with the triangular pits.

The effective drop-off is nowhere near 35cm wide because at the ends the "length"/"width" of the pit goes to zero, so there is no pit for a robot to fall into. Whilst continuing low walls around the corners would help to alleviate the problem they would not be a complete cure.

The existing rules specify (or suggest, I can't remember) that pits should be at least 125mm wide. This rule was added to avoid the issue of robots being pushed out but bouncing off the back wall of the pit back into the arena. This was a real problem which happened on enough occasions for us to devise a rule to combat it. I think this is something we need to continue to enforce in arena designs to prevent recurrence of an old problem.

The 35cm triangles only actually provide a drop-off of 10cm where the pit is more than 125mm wide, four drop-offs add up to only about 8% of the total perimeter!

On the subject of wall heights, the current rules suggest 5cm. Again this was arrived at after much consideration. High enough to prevent driving out, possible to lift an opponent over (even with a simple servo-powered lifter) and even (sometimes) possible to push an opponent over with a good pusher!
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