Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

If Fleaweights are just too big...

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limpet
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by limpet » Tue Jul 07, 2015 6:31 am

So is it 60mm officially then?
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by Shakey » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:52 pm

Now I know Nanos aren't much of a thing still and we're still thinking of ways of encouraging them.

I still have plans to build a nano arena, new job and moving put a temporary hold on that though. Another point of discussion between myself and Rory was to simply totally eliminate the size limit, the thinking behind it is that in all honestly the weight alone is limiting enough and we want to encourage more nanos to be built. It also provides a different edge to the class compared to other insect classes. The weight being restrictive enough to stop it being too out of hand in practice.

The move to 60mm did help quite a few more ants appear and I think relaxing this rule altogether plus a dedicated arena could properly help them to find their feet.

Thoughts?
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:59 pm

I remember putting forward the idea before that nanos and fleas should both simply follow the same rules as ants and we just use the 4" cube for all, with the weight being the main restriction, but it wasn't met with much enthusiasm at the time.
I'd be all for it personally. It would mean event organisers would only need one cube too. But I've never been able to get the hang of nanos anyway.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by AntRoboteer » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:12 am

Sounds interesting.

I definitely think a new dedicated nano arena would help things along. The current arena really is very large even for ants but the issue tends to be the nanos often have no chance of catching up to one another.

If you are going to lift the size restriction, you have to consider that in theory a nano Robox could come into existence which is near 12 inches by 12 inches (roughly the size of the current full size Robox) and still qualify within the rules.

Currently, the main arena is large enough for Robox to move around in (just :D ) but a smaller, dedicated nano arena would limit possibilities of anything like that.

Of course, this is a bit of an edge case, but it's not a stretch to say that it would be possible and would have damaging effects on competition in general if the arena is too small. There would be no restriction on current size nanoweights with tons of acetate all around them filling up the 4 inch cube either which would have a similar effect. Hence, worst case is what you would have to plan for in terms of arena size and the ideal candidate for that right now would be Pete's current arena.

So, what it comes down to is that a new smaller arena and a cube size change would not go hand in hand.

Personally, the size restriction has never been an issue at all for me or nano builders in general and the arena size has proved to be problematic in some cases (the 7 minute long nano fight at Ant Freeze is an example, bearing in mind that the Ant Freeze arena is actually smaller than Pete's arena). The 60mm cube really helped, but we see diminishing returns as the cube size increases as nanoweight components must be tiny anyway. I would propose keeping the size restriction the same.

However, a new arena would add a new dynamic to the nanos and I believe having the nanoweights as a dedicated competition in a separate arena would make the class infinitely more appealing.

On a side note, the fleaweight cube restriction is an issue and prevents fleaweights being built for sure. This is because, unlike the nanos, fleaweight components are often antweight components, just with thinner armour used for the chassis or lack of moving weapon. I would propose increasing the fleaweight cube size to 4 inches as there are no arena change concerns with fleaweights and it's about time they became more accessible to all.

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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by Shakey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:40 am

You make a good point about something like a nanoweight Roblox. At the same time though the size restrictions ARE something I hear a lot of as a barrier to nanos on top of the weight limit. While nanos are meant to be a challenge at the moment it feels the size limit is serving to pigeonhole designs and enforcing too oppressive of a restriction, especially when active weapons are trying to be incorporated in the robots. I'm still of the mind that there should be an increase though maybe not a totally unrestricted. My concern is aiming to make the class actually accessible so we can start encouraging builders into it. The aim being to be able to offer some more space for innovating designs and trying different challenging things which was one of the reasons we drove the class into existence.

"Of course, this is a bit of an edge case, but it's not a stretch to say that it would be possible and would have damaging effects on competition in general if the arena is too small" I more see the arena size as one of the design restrictions in the same way robots aren't too fast as there's only so much arena to run in. I don't consider it something damaging to the competition if it's only affecting a single competitor that is quite literally too big to move in the arena. :P

One of the reasons we moved to 60mm initially was to allow certain components to be accommodated without forcing designs, now there was good success with this but I feel there's still some ways to go.

I know I intend to ensure that my arena is capable of slightly larger nanos than currently to allow us to at least experiment with the rules to find the effect. Often I think the sport, especially a fledgling weight class like nanos, gets too bogged down in debates and 'every scenario' rules preventing some of the actual fun of it all coming through. I do have every intention of allowing slightly larger nanos into my arena even if just to simply see the results rather than lock the class into generic designs until it is too big of a class to change it down the line.

It was at the end of the day an arbitrarily decided limit post a few beers to impose and I don't think we should stick with it simply because it was the first number to appear.

Also please take the flea size debate to a new thread, I actually agree with it but don't want to have 2 things being discussed in this one.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by AntRoboteer » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:13 pm

All completely fair as far as I can see.

You make a good point about the active weapons being restricted by the cube. I tend to think of my nano (Muffin) as a tough pushing machine whereas actually if it were to be classified by anyone else, it would be classified as a grabber due to the claw on top. However, due to cube restrictions, the claw isn't long enough to actually grab anything now that I think about it. A larger cube would help and I'm sure in other cases it would be useful to have a little extra breathing room also.

So yes, I would agree that a larger cube would allow for more creativity.

I would propose that the nanoweight arena size in mm is posted clearly either in the rules or at least on this forum.

This way, builders know that, while they can go into 4 inch cube territory, they need to be careful about manoeverability. So the risk of entering an absolutely massive machine which doesn't even fit properly in the arena is entirely on the builder and not the organiser's problem as the builders were given advance notice.

In that case, I would support the move to a larger cube and a new arena.

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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by Shakey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:22 pm

I'll get numbers finalised when the arena comes into existence and work out a way of getting it properly listed, maybe the full 4" cube is too much but certainly an aim for the 3" cube seems reasonable.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:56 pm

3" cube for nanos and a move up to 4" for fleas? Sounds like a decent enough proposition to at least try out.

I agree with everything being said about arena size vs robot size. Guess the solution for that is to set the arena size before the robot one, as suggested. IE, you're free to build a big nano but it would probably hurt you more than anyone else if you can't move it around the box.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by AntRoboteer » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:18 pm

Just posted a follow up in Dave's rules thread here: http://www.robotwars101.org/forum/viewt ... =10&t=2720

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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by Shakey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:59 pm

"The proposed solution is to increase size limits for Fleaweights and Nanoweights. I have had a rethink and believe they should stay as they are as particularly in the Nano class. The reasoning behind this is that the competition has been held multiple times with certain restrictions. Unfortunetely, a change now would actually invalidate quite a few competitions which have been limited in that way. The smaller cubes are possible to adhere to with some creative thinking."

I don't see any way in which previous competitions are invalidated by any change such as this, we held competitions under the 50mm rule and when we moved to 60mm nothing became invalid. Also competition is a strong word from just having a single melee labelled as an NWS really!

The problem I see is that it's the boring kind of creative thinking, it's creative thinking to fit the restriction not to actually be creative.

I'm currently rolling with every intention to build my arena to accomodate a 75mm cube rule on nanos and is my intention to run that rule.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:13 pm

Yeah, I also don't really agree that rule changes are automatically bad for anyone who built to previous rulesets. Especially when it's only a tweak.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by AntRoboteer » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:03 pm

DieGracefullyRobotics wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:13 pm
Yeah, I also don't really agree that rule changes are automatically bad for anyone who built to previous rulesets. Especially when it's only a tweak.
Agreed to a certain extent. To award the same trophy for an altogether different competition seems slightly odd to me though.

Frankly, getting a competitive nano together within a 75mm cube would simple to say the least now that I look at it. A change in side length from 60mm to 75mm seems like nothing which was my point of view earlier. However, looking at it, it's significant and would result in a large volume increase with no real reason. It is my standpoint that it would be more than a tweak in this case and more of a redefinition of the class.

When the cube was changed from 50mm to 60mm, this was because there was only one real configuration you could run your robot in and fit inside the cube. The nanos were in early stages and it seemed natural to change the cube classification then to finalise the nano ruleset as a viable class.

The components required for a nanoweight are so small, you could actually fit a chassis easily within a much smaller cube than currently. It is now simple and inexpensive to get a nanoweight running with little experience. My nano is actually an old generation nano (no fancy small motors or receivers) and still would fit within a 50mm cube if I didn't pack it out with a load of armour and move the drive train around. 50mm nanos were possible but not exciting or sufficiently different from each other. 60mm nanos are better and not hard to build; they allow for creativity while distinguishing themselves from the fleaweights nicely.

Actually holding my nanoweight machine in my hand has made me realise that the size of a nanoweight is one of the defining characteristics of a nanoweight. Make them fleaweight size and they lose part of their reason to be.
Shakey wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:59 pm
I'm currently rolling with every intention to build my arena to accomodate a 75mm cube rule on nanos and is my intention to run that rule.
The rule needs to be passed by the community as a whole before any event run under a 75mm cube rule is deemed official in any way. Absolutely build an arena with tolerance for larger machines (additional space is fantastic in combat situations) but that doesn't mean rules should be changed as a result with no negotiation.

I really appreciate what you are trying to do here Alex, to widen participation in nanos. That's really excellent. I just don't think the cube rule will make any difference to participation but instead would negatively impact innovation. A dedicated arena would add to the appeal and I'm sure a resurgence would be around the corner.

The reasons for few people getting involved is lack of formal competition. That's actually why I haven't built a few smaller machines I planned to. I'm sure many others would be the same.

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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by Shakey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:18 pm

AntRoboteer wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:03 pm
The rule needs to be passed by the community as a whole before any event run under a 75mm cube rule is deemed official in any way. Absolutely build an arena with tolerance for larger machines (additional space is fantastic in combat situations) but that doesn't mean rules should be changed as a result with no negotiation.

I really appreciate what you are trying to do here Alex, to widen participation in nanos. That's really excellent. I just don't think the cube rule will make any difference to participation but instead would negatively impact innovation. A dedicated arena would add to the appeal and I'm sure a resurgence would be around the corner.

The reasons for few people getting involved is lack of formal competition. That's actually why I haven't built a few smaller machines I planned to. I'm sure many others would be the same.
Then every Nano event in my arena will just run without the currently fairly meaningless NWS banner. Often it feels like debating arbitrary rules that were earmarked to fine tune from the get go over subjective points, it gets tiring and stops the hobby ever moving forwards. Even when the move was made to 60mm it was stated that this will be reviewed and may change further in future. We shouldn't obsess over officiality of a weight class that doesn't even exist in the ruleset. The last few nano melees didn't even perform size checks.

" I just don't think the cube rule will make any difference to participation but instead would negatively impact innovation. " I cannot in anyway see how a relaxing of the size rule to expand out of the standard component set stifles innovation. Innovation is not finding news ways to cram components for the same end results, but actually having the freedom to be able to try new things. One of the promising standard drive setups of 2 6mm planetary gearboxes back to back nearly touching terminals is 55mm.

The class is stalled out and momentum is lost that's a fact. I'm not going to let it die fully and will do what I think is needed to revive it. Rory and I worked hard to help bring this class into focus a bit and I do not intend to stop driving it on.

The main thing in all of this is to at least try, while the class still can. It's why I will be allowing larger nanos so that we can find out the actual effect it will have.

EDIT: To add this is partly looking at the future of the class. Yes nanos can be built in 60mm but it IS pigeonholing designs. This is not healthy for the classes long term prospects as numbers grow. There needs to be room for increasing numbers of nanos to vary themselves or the design side will start to stagnate and the weight class interest drops, but by this point there are too many bots and involved hands to really evoke any changes. This IS essentially a slight reboot of the class to fit more in the spirit of its revivals intention, rather than allow a arbitrarily chosen number strangle the class out over time. This is something that fleas have suffered from where the restricrion is too tight and not allowing proper creativity, as a result flea numbers have waned and their competitions become less and less formal to the point of not even being held properly as they were.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by DieGracefullyRobotics » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:56 am

There does appear to be a certain magic ratio in the antweight class between rules (size and weight limits, in place for obvious reasons) and creativity. Antweights are one of the most creative classes out there and its because of the harmony between those limits and the challenges they create. Something that is seemingly lacking in nano and fleaweights. It could be a lack of focus on them or it could be that that harmony is a little off kilter and it's a bit too difficult.
The focus in antweight competitions has dwindled since I took my break with a seeming lack of structured organisation but it didn't quell the creativity of the class. I'd be interested to hear the opinions of other nanoweight builders on these issues.
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Re: Revision of Nanoweight Cube Size

Post by atticp » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:30 am

Having seen the nanos in action at AWS54, I've been inspired to build a nano for one of the next competitions and just thought sharing some of the reasons might add another angle to this debate...
Having competed in antweights 13 years ago and then taken a significant break it was great to see the improvements that had taken place while I was not competing, but I was slightly saddened by how "easy" it was to fit in the weight/size limit now with the standard setup for an antweight drive system. While I agree that this both allows an easy entry point for competitors and allows for innovation in other areas, I missed the struggle to make everything fit and there doesn't seem to be as much variation in the drive systems used.
Having seen the nanos, my thinking was well if everything has shrunk in the time I was away then the old challenges would exist in the smaller weight classes. I am really enjoying the challenge of making things fit into 60mm. I think that 50mm would have been too difficult and 75mm is possibly moving towards too easy.
One of the main factors I see for not building a nano is the ratio of effort vs number of fights. It is a lot of effort to build a nano for 1 fight tagged on the end of an AWS. If there was a separate nano arena and a NWS was run as double elimination or a league system in parallel with the AWS then there might be some more interest. Especially as antweight events are approaching 100 entries and there is a lot of waiting time for roboteers between fights. If NWS fights were fought when roboteers were available from the AWS, maybe that would work?

Sorry for the rambling, just wanted to share some thoughts from a nano newb, hope they are helpful in some way.
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