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2010 RFL rule changes
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kkeerroo
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2010 RFL rule changes

I have been getting a few emails about proposed RFL rule changes. Since the QRSC is part of the RFL I thought I will post them here before I give feedback to Dave.
The biggest changes concern the walker bonus to stop non wheel robots getting the weight bonus. The concern comes from robots that move via a spinning weapons gyroscopic precession being given the weight bonus due to not being driven via wheels.
The judging / refereeing guidelines have also been expanded.

Here is the cut and pasted email:

EVERYONE PLEASE READ THIS. It contains important info about proposed changes to
the RFL ruleset. Please don't procrastinate. It will only take about 15
minutes, but the primary point of the RFL is a common ruleset, after all.

(you may want a copy in front of you to read alongside the propsal below:
http://botleague.net/rules.asp )

[if you're catching up, I'm proposing to change the rules regarding 100% weight
bonus for non-wheeled bots, specifically, giving gyroscopically actuated robots
a 100% weight bonus as if they were walking robots.]

I guess in re-reading the rule, I disagree with Judd's decision to allow the
gyrobot the bonus:

the last line of 3.1.2 reads: "Linear-actuated legs and novel non-wheeled drive
systems may qualify for this bonus."

His obvious decision is that the gyro bot is a "novel non-wheeled drive." Which
it IS. I can't argue that. But I can argue that it is NOT a "walking" robot.
Becuase in Rule 2.1, which defines weight classes, the bonus is very specific as
to "walking", rather than "non-wheeled."

Anyway, In the end, I'd like to close the allowable bonus to strictly "walking",
and define "walking" within 3.1.x as distinct from "non-wheeled" as defined in 3.1.2

Therefore, my proposed changes are as follows (Changes in ALL CAPS for the
purposes of distinction via text-email):

....

2. Weight Classes. This event offers the listed weight classes in section 2.1.
There is a 100% weight bonus for WALKING bots. (WALKING robots in the 340 class
may receive a 35% bonus. There is no weight bonus for ANY BOT NOT DEFINED AS
WALKING IN 3.1.3, INCLUDING shufflers, GYROSCOPIC PROCESSION, FLYERS, or other
forms of locomotion which are predicated on rolling - see 3.1.3 for a definition
of a WALKER.)

...

And a shift within 3.1.x (note, that by adding a distinct definition of a
walker, that the old 3.1.3 through 3.1.6 now become 3.1.4 through 3.1.Cool In the
case of "non-wheeled", I have dropped the last sentence from the old rule-set.

Thus-

...

3.1.2. Non-wheeled: non-wheeled robots have no rolling elements in contact with
the floor and no continuous rolling or cam operated motion in contact with the
floor, either directly or via a linkage. Motion is “continuous” if continuous
operation of the drive motor(s) produces continuous motion of the robot.

3.1.3. Walking: Walking robots are defined as those with linear-actuated legs
which operate independent of each other. That is, any given leg must be able to
move laterally and vertically with no cause and effect from another leg.

3.1.4. Shuffling (rotational cam operated legs)
3.1.5. Gyroscopic procession [is|is not allowed.]
3.1.6. Ground effect air cushions (hovercrafts) [is|is not allowed.]
3.1.7. Jumping and hopping [is|is not allowed.]
3.1.8. Flying (airfoil using, helium balloons, ornithopters, etc.) [is|is not
allowed. ]
3.1.8 [Additional notes on mobility.]

....

I would also like to raise the allowable hydraulic limits (all new as below):

8. Hydraulics

8.1. Robots in the 12 lb class or lighter are limited to 250psi and there
must be an easy way to determine this pressure.
8.2. Hydraulic system pressure (In the actuator/cylinder) must be limited
to 10000psi/ 700bar by way of a maximum pressure relief valve
8.3. A hydraulic test point is a mandatory fitment to allow verification of
a robots maximum system pressure. A team will need its own test gauge and hose.
8.4. Hydraulic fluid storage tanks must be of a suitable material and
adequately guarded against rupture.
8.5 Hydraulic fluid lines and fittings must be to USA Standards and/ or to
European DIN specifications.
8.6 Hydraulic fluid lines and fittings must be capable of withstanding the
maximum working pressures used within the robot. 8.7 Hydraulic fluid lines must
be routed to minimise the chances of being cut or damaged.
8.8 Hydraulic accumulators (pressurised oil storage devices) are banned in
whatever form they may take.
8.9 All hydraulic systems must use non-flammable, non-corrosive fluid and
must be designed not to leak when inverted.
8.10 Please note that some simple low pressure and volume hydraulic
systems, like simple braking, may not need to adhere to all the rules above. You
are required to contact this event if you would like an exception.
8.11 Care needs to be taken when building a hydraulic system that
consideration is given to bleeding the system of air. Trapped air in the
hydraulic system will degrade the performance of the system and may make a robot
run foul of rule 8.8

......

I presume that there won't be much arguement with the above two.

However, I would like to offer two addional changes:

1) Disallow all non-digitally mated Tx/Rx pairs. This obviously includes 75.
Yes, I know there will be huge arguments about this. Pass or not pass, I would
like to discuss it.

2) Standardize and add specific judging criteria as below. I presume there will
be some discussion on this, but hope we can all agree on it:

........

All new text below:

13.3.1. Small smoke effects may be used, please contact the event if
you plan on using it.

14. Tournament Judges
A panel of judges will determine the winner of matches in which time expires
before one combatant is defeated as defined in the Tournament Rules and
Procedures. The number of judges on the panel shall be an odd number (three) to
eliminate the possibility of ties.

Judges' decisions are final.

14.1. Qualifications
Judges must be completely familiar with the Official Rules governing the
tournament.

Judges must be familiar with the scoring system and Judging Guidelines as
defined here.

Judges must be reasonably conversant with combat robot design and construction.

14.1.1. Responsibilities
Each judge shall officiate in a given robotic combat Tournament with
complete impartiality and fairness, respecting and abiding by the rules that
govern that tournament, in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

Each judge is responsible for keeping track of the Combatants during
the course of the match. Many Combatants look similar, it is the responsibility
of each judge to keep them straight and award points correctly.

Each judge is expected to take careful note of existing damage when
Combatants enter the arena. Existing damage must not be counted against a
Combatant in the event of a judges' decision.

Judges must watch the entire match and award points accordingly. Judges
are allowed (and encouraged) to take notes during a match to assist in scoring.

14.1.2. Referee / Judge Foreman
One member of the judge's panel will be designated the Judge Foreman.
The Judge Foreman will ensure that all other judges are conforming to the
guidelines as set forth herein. The Judge Foreman may participate in scoring
judges' decisions or simply act as the Referee, depending on the number of
judges available.

The Judge Foreman will ensure that all Combatants conform to the
tournament rules. Warnings and instructions from the Judge Foreman will be
issued to the Combatants verbally during the matches. Should a Combatant fail to
comply, the Judge Foreman will stop the match and the violating Combatant shall
be deemed the loser.

The Judge Foreman will determine the point at which a knockout
countdown is to begin based on the strict interpretation of the rules. When a 10
second countdown is warranted by the Judge Foreman, the non-responsive Combatant
will be notified and the countdown will begin. The arena announcer will start
the countdown at 10 and count down to 0. If the non-responsive robot has not
displayed sufficient translational movement as described in the rules, the
Combatant will be declared the loser.

14.1.3. Conduct
Judges will clearly identify themselves as such.

Judges will not consult with each other or the audience while watching
or scoring a match.

Judges wil not drink alchoholic beverages during their session judging.

14.2. Judges' Decisions: Scoring
When a match does not end in the elimination of one of the Combatants as
defined by the Tournament Rules and Procedures the winner shall be determined by
a Judges' Decision. In a Judges' Decision the points awarded to the Combatants
by the panel of judges are totaled and the winner with the majority of points is
declared the winner.

14.2.1. Point Scoring System
Points are awarded in 2 categories:

* Aggression - 5 points
* Damage - 6 points

All points must be awarded - each judge will determine how many points
to award each Combatant in each category, according to the Judging Guidelines
(see below). The maximum possible score a Combatant receives is 11 * (number of
judges). Thus, a single judge will award a total of 11 points, and a 3 judge
panel will award a total of 33 points.

14.2.2. Judging Guidelines

14.2.2.1. Scoring Aggression
Aggression scoring will be based on the relative amount of time
each robot spends attacking the other.

Attacks do not have to be successful to count for aggression
points, but a distinction will be made between chasing a fleeing opponent and
randomly crashing around the arena.

Points will not be awarded for aggression if a robot is completely
uncontrollable or unable to do more than turn in place, even if it is trying to
attack.

Sitting still and waiting for your opponent to drive into your
weapon does not count for aggression points, even if it is an amazingly
destructive weapon. Robot must show translational movement torward their
opponent for it to be counted as aggression.

Awarding Aggression Points

* 5-0: a 5-0 score shall be awarded only when one of the robots
never attempts to attack the other, and the other consistently attacks.

* 4-1: a score of 4-1 shall be awarded in the case of
significant dominance of attacks by one robot, with the other only attempting to
attack a few times during the match.

* 3-2: a 3-2 score shall be awarded when
o Both robots consistently attack the other.
o Both robots only attack the other for part of the match.
o Both robots spend most of the match avoiding each
other. In this case it will be up to the judge's discretion to decide which
robot made more attempts to make attack the other.
o A Combatant who attacks a full-body spinner (e.g.
intentionally drives within the perimeter of the spinning weapon) is
automatically considered the aggressor and awarded a 3-2 score in the case where
either robots consistently attack, or both robots consistently avoid each other.
o There can be no ties in aggression. Judges must decide
that one robot is more aggressive than the other.
Note: a Combatant is considered a "full body spinner" if the
robot cannot be attacked without moving within the perimeter of the spinning weapon.

14.2.2.2. Scoring Damage
Judges should be knowledgeable about how different materials are
damaged. Some materials such as Titanium will send off bright sparks when hit
but are still very strong and may be largely undamaged. Other materials such as
Aluminum will not send off bright sparks when hit. Judges should not be
influenced by things like sparks, but rather how deep or incapacitating a
"wound" is.

Judges should be knowledgeable about the different materials used
in Bot construction and how damage to these materials can reduce a Bot's
functionality. Judges should not to be unduly influenced by highly visual damage
that doesn't affect a Combatant's functionality effectiveness or defensibility.
For example, a gash in a Combatant's armor may be very visible but only
minimally reduce the armor's functionality.

Judges should look for damage that may not be visually striking but
affects the functionality of a Combatant. For example:

* a small bend in a lifting arm or spinner weapon may
dramatically affect its functionality by preventing it from having its full
range of motion
* bent armor or skirts can prevent the Combatant from resting
squarely on the floor, reducing the effectiveness of the drive train
* A wobbly wheel indicates that it is bent and will not get as
much traction.
* Cuts or holes through armor may mean there is more damage
inside.

Trivial

* Flip over (or being propelled onto bumper, ramp, or other
obstacle) causing no loss of mobility or loss of weapon functionality, except
where flipping causes full loss of mobility and robot is unable to show
translational movement.
* Direct impacts which do not leave a visible dent or scratch.
* Sparks resulting from strike of opponent's weapon
* Being lifted in the air with no damage and no lasting loss of
traction.

Cosmetic

* Visible scratches to armor.
* Non-penetrating cut or dent or slight bending of armor or
exposed frame.
* Removal of non-structural, non-functional cosmetic pieces
(dolls, foliage, foam, or "ablative" armor).
* Damage to wheel, spinning blade, or other exposed moving part
not resulting in loss of functionality or mobility.

Minor

* Flip over (or being propelled onto bumper or other obstacle)
causing some loss of mobility or control or making it impossible to use a weapon.
* Intermittent smoke not associated with noticeable power drop.
* Penetrating dent or small hole.
* Removal of most or all of a wheel, or saw blade, spike,
tooth, or other weapon component, which does not result in a loss of
functionality or mobility.
* Slightly warped frame not resulting in loss of mobility or
weapon function.

Significant:

* Continuous smoke, or smoke associated with partial loss of
power of drive or weapons.
* Torn, ripped, or badly warped armor or large hole punched in
armor.
* Damage or removal of wheels resulting in impaired mobility
* damage to rotary weapon resulting in loss of weapon speed or
severe vibration
* damage to arm, hammer, or other moving part resulting in
partial loss of weapon functionality.
* Visibly bent or warped frame.
* Major: Smoke and visible fire.
* Armor section completely removed exposing interior components.
* Removal of wheels, spinning blade, saw, hammer, or lifting
arm, or other major component resulting in total loss of weapon functionality or
mobility.
* Frame warping causing partial loss of mobility or complete
loss of functionality of weapon system.
* Internal components (batteries, speed controller, radio,
motor) broken free from mounts and resting or dragging on the arena floor.
* Significant leak of hydraulic fluid.
* Obvious leaks of pneumatic gases.

Massive

* Armor shell completely torn off frame.
* Major subassemblies torn free from frame.
* Loss of structural integrity - major frame or armor sections
dragging or resting on floor.
* Total loss of power.

Post-Match Inspection
Judges may request the combatant's to demonstrate operability of
their robot's drive train and/or weapon following the end of the match, before
the arena doors are opened.

Judges may inspect the Combatant's robot after a match to determine
how best to award damage points. If a judge needs to examine one or both of the
Combatants robot's before awarding damage points, he or she will notify the
Stage Manager or other designated official immediately after the end of the
match. The inspection will be conducted by the entire panel. The judges will not
handle the Combatant's robot. The driver or a designated team member will handle
the Combatant's robot. A member of the opponent's team will be present during
any such inspection.

Awarding Damage Points
Scoring of damage points is based on relative grading of each
robot's damage.

* 6-0: a 6-0 score shall be awarded when:
o one robot suffers nothing more than trivial damage, and
the other is at least significantly damaged
o one robot has suffered major or massive damage and the
other is no more than cosmetically damaged.
* 5-1: a 5-1 score shall be awarded when:
o one robot suffers at least minor damage and the other
suffers major or worse damage
o One robot has suffered cosmetic damage and the other
has suffered at least significant damage.
* 4-2: a 4-2 score shall be awarded when:
o both robots have suffered nearly the same level of
damage but one is slightly more damaged than the other
* 3-3: a 3-3 score shall be awarded when:
o both robots have suffered the same level of damage, or
o neither robot has even cosmetically damaged the other

Damage that is self-inflicted by a robot's own systems and not
directly or indirectly caused by contact with the other robot or an active arena
hazard will not be counted against that robot for scoring purposes.



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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:36 am 
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marto
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Sounds like some good changes. My only question is how would that fit in with our round robin scoring system if we chose to conform to those rules?

Steve
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:40 pm 
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dyrodium
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Lovely how someone trys something never done before and is so quickly shut down... Gyrobot lacked the fine control of wheeled robots which meant it could have been beaten by good driving, not rules... Sad
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:48 pm 
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marto
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Well I dunno if the weight bonus is really intended for gyrobot purposes. It would just allow them to put 145% of their weight into weapon system. Which is the whole point of building that style of weapon. Next thing melty brain bots would be arguing they should get the bonus as they are novel.

Fair enough its cool but its a loophole being exploited IMO.
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Valen
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I think the points system they have will work well with the round robin system.
Assuming you can loose on points and have the other guy flip himself on your (almost) dead body and become immobilised whilst you still shuffle around the arena winning the match by KO.

Alternatly we can ditch the KO style win/loss and just go for points.
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:20 pm 
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Glen
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yerh i dont think the gyrobots should have had the weight bonus. considering its just changing the drive motors for the tilting mechanisms. plenty of weight to do it effectively in the standard weight.
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Nick
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Seeing as more NSW guys have commented, are we interested in joining the RFL? IMHO, The latest changes are minor and sensible (unless you are planning another gyrobot).

Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:10 pm 
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kkeerroo
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No comment on "14.1.3. Judges will not drink alcoholic beverages during their judging session. "? I would like to know the story behind that.

Reminds me of why I am friendly with the Beer Bash guys.
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:18 pm 
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seanet1310



Joined: 08 Nov 2006
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simple fact that the bonus was meant for walkers it is not one. cool design but dont think it should get a bonus.

everything else sounds decent except maybe the judging as QLD system seams to have worked well in the past.

and Hydraulic never been an issue here as far as i know but conforming to USA or DIN specs for lines. anyone know what Aus uses. might be a pain to have to use foreign standards.


Non digital radios should not cause much issue. Who still runs one of them?
I think there may have been a QLD or 2 just do not remember who. everyone else is 2.4ghz and brett with his PCM.
Does that digitally pair? or is it just digital encoding. that could rule out one of our EO's at QLD events or needing to buy a module for what is a high quality and very safe radio.
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:21 pm 
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kkeerroo
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example of robot that moves via gyroscopic precession: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxmJXRlsksY&feature=related
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:24 pm 
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marto
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Hmmm thats not as bad as I thought it would be you are sacrificing a lot of manoeuvrability but its still not really a walker.
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:36 pm 
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Spockie-Tech
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Heh, *I* still run a 75Mhz PCM Radio Smile
Mainly 'caase I already had about 6 or 7 Rx's (for Two bots, Heli's etc), , Simulator Cables, Complex Programming for the Heli's, when the Spektrums came out and I didnt want to have to replace them all and re-learn a new programming system.

I'll buy a DSM radio one day..

Also, you've probably all heard it before, but I'm still of the opinion that trying to rule-mandate exactly how someone impements a drive system is back-asswards..

Walkers suck because they offer no advantage on a flat floor other than weight bonuses and looking cool. Wheels are the perfect solution for a flat floor. Anything else is a handicap.

Instead of trying to anticipate, and outlaw (After the fact) novel drive systems, just pop some (maybe removeable ?) arena hazards in that offer articulated legged bots an competitive advantage. A set of stairs maybe ? Speed Humps ?

When there is a real *competitive* (not legal) advantage to building a "real-leg" walking robot, then people will build them and Bots will stop looking like RC Cars or Lawn-Mowers without casings. Until that happens, you're playing whack a mole with the rules trying to encourage real-legs to happen with "bonus'es".

Maybe run a second sub-class with the obstacles in the anrea so the existing wheeled bot drivers dont complain ? It might even encourage tracks and other "cool" drive systems
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Philip
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I say all radios are fine. Just prove that your bot will fail safe.

I would like to see control points in the judging criteria. It is very cool when one bot completely dominates the centre of the arena and slams the opponent from wall to wall. Two of my favourite fights have been being slammed wall to wall by Cheese Wedge and Cobra. There was no damage done and we spent equal time moving towards each other, but they both clearly controlled the fight and deserved the win.
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Post Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:41 am 
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kkeerroo
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From the RFL forum the argument against "crystal based radios" is that at an ant weight comp a competitor loaded his robot into an arena and it started by itself and could not be stopped for several minutes. To me he should have been disqualified for failing safety inspection and/or blame placed on the EO for not performing inspections.
I still run 75MHz PCM as well.
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Post Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:01 am 
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seanet1310



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do we know exactly what caused the uncontrollability.

as the one that went unstoppable a PCM?
They should be almost as good as 2.4ghz due to the encoding unless someone had the same crystal playing funny buggers
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Post Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:42 am 
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