Scorekeeping Notes from Alamo Regional
Sorry, this is going to be a LONG post, so I've split it into two (can only post 10,000 chars per post). We must have run into just about every problem you could run into, and found tons of "bugs" in the system that I think it's important for Scorekeepers to know about. Here are my notes on Scorekeeping:
- Bridge Unit - There is a box sandwiched between two plexiglass plates that the yellow bridge cables plug into, I don't remember what the FTA called it (it's the module with the PLC that monitors bridge balancing and also controls bridge lights). Anyway, there are actually TWO of them in the truck, and they're not labeled as being the "Primary" and the "Spare". The FMS is pre-programmed to use only the Primary. If the bridges do not seem to want to cooperate during setup, make sure you're using the correct bridge unit.
- Editing Bridge Status in FMS and Bridge Lights - When you press the "Field Clear" button on the FCUI, the bridge lights for all 3 bridges turn GREEN. However, if you haven't yet pressed "Post Results", and must edit the bridge (adjusting the number of bots on the bridge or manually setting the balanced status) the bridge lights for the edited bridges may then transition from GREEN to their respective color. This confused the field crew and the Head Ref, and the mixed light pattern persisted until the beginning of the next game. I tried pressing "Field Clear" again to see if that would override the lights, and it did not. This is not completely avoidable, however, since during Eliminations you very often clear the field prior to having all the cards and edits made (you must deal with cards prior to pressing "Post Results", as it has a dire effect on the score during Elims).
- Bypass Negating while Changing Card Status during Autonomous - When a team is a complete no-show (no robot, no human player) you must assign the team a red card and bypass them. Sometimes it's hard to see if a team's human player shows up at the last minute, and in one case I finally saw the human player show up as we started autonomous. During Auto, I clicked the red card to make it green, and the bypass for the team was removed. This caused the lights on the status bar to show there was an issue with a robot on the alliance, since now all the DS/Robot pairs were being evaluated (when there should have only been 2). This confused the FTA/FTAA, but had no other consequences to match play, so it's best to change cards at the END of the match instead of during the match (though it should technically be impossible to un-bypass someone once the match starts).
- Technical Fouls - As the ref crew learns the new system, I found that very often Technical Fouls were not assigned correctly - Blue technical fouls were assigned to red, or vice versa, or additional technical fouls would just "appear" (the head ref disavowed all knowledge of making the mistake, but claimed it could have been possible). So if you see Technical Fouls, quickly verify with the Head Ref prior to pressing "Post Results." It would be best if the Head Ref could see a summary of what was submitted on the screen for the prior match in-between matches, but alas no such data exists.
- Team Card and Bypass Status NOT CLEARED between Practice, Qualifications, and Elims - On Thursday evening, the ref crew was playing with the card status and the field linking tests were also being done. We ended up red-card-bypassing team 148 at that time. The next day, during Qualification Match #9, I completely did not notice that Team 148 was STILL red-card-bypassed (and totally didn't expect that to be the case) and we ended up starting the match that way - needless to say, 148 was furious and we had to replay the match. At the end of the day on Thursday, before going home, it's a good idea to go through the played practice matches and clear all card status to GREEN.
- Score Recalculation Not Always Automatically Performed Correctly - If you ever have to replay a match, or have to edit a match, we found that the automatic ranking calculation is not always performed correctly. We found that it's best to use the "Recalculate Scores / Ranks" item in the Event Wizard to force the system to recalculate scores and ranks whenever you make edits in the Match Review tab. As a rule, once Qualification matches have completed, you should ALWAYS use the score recalculation mechanism in the Event Wizard before printing out the match rankings for Alliance Selection.
- Head Ref Screen Not Updating Properly for Coopertition - We found a bug in the Ref Screen where if a bridge was NOT BALANCED, the head ref's panel would often not properly update the number of robots on my scorekeeper screen NOR would it always translate coopertition (really not an issue for alliance bridges except for G25, which has to be handled specially). This has a big effect on the coopertition bridge, because if a robot of both alliances are supported by the bridge, but it's not balanced, the losing alliance still gets a QP. However, because of this bug, the "coopertition" setting also would not translate - we had to go back several times and edit the unbalanced coopertition state of the coopertition bridge. The Lesson Learned - Even if the ref results are in, keep an eye on bridge state in the scorekeeper screen before posting results.
- Dealing with G25 - Probably the most-called Technical Foul (actually, the most called foul of any kind) was in Rule G25, dealing with touching an opposing alliance's bridge during the act of balancing. G25 says you should give maximum number of robots balanced during the match, which is 2 for quals and 3 for elims. This means unless I asked the Head Ref about the Technical Foul or the Head Ref told me that the technical foul was a G25 we had to go back and edit the scores after committing them (fortunately in no case did we affect the outcome of a match by doing this, but we just got lucky). This is one of the major cases where even though the "Score Ready" is shown the score may not be complete and you should verify with the Head Ref before posting the results (this ties into making sure all Technical Fouls are correct before posting results).
- Be Wary of Current Match Number - I don't know if it was just because FMS didn't like me, but I had FMS jump to a match that wasn't the next match in sequence. We had just finished match 25, and when I pre-started the next match I found that FMS had actually loaded Match 31. I backed out of Pre-Start, and manually moved down to Match 26. After Match 26 was over, it again loaded Match 31. I had to manually set the match again. Finally, when we played Match 31, it nicely moved to Match 32. There really was no reason I could find why it jumped to Match 31, and kept jumping to match 31, I hadn't done anything with that match prior to it doing that. Lesson Learned - check the match number prior to pre-starting the match.
- Red Cards Not Transitioning To Yellow - There are only two times when Red Cards are given - (1) when a team completely does not show up for a match, and (2) when the referees give them a red card due to a technical foul. When (1) occurs, that status propagates to the next time the team shows up (as in the case of the snafoo with 148). However, when (2) occurs the next time a team shows up their card status is actually GREEN. Not once did I ever see the FMS load up a team with a yellow card. I kept a record of all Red Cards, and we assigned 20% of the teams at the Alamo Regional a red card at least once during qualifications. However, I never once saw a yellow card. It fortunately did not affect our Regional, because NOT ONCE did we issue a Yellow Card, but this is something to be very careful about and watch out for.
- Poor Sorting Algorithms in FMS - Two big annoyances about the way FMS sorts things are:
The first item just annoyed me, but it took a lot of time out of the day when we could have been in pre-start or linking bots instead. The second item confused the hell out of the queue staff, because on the schedule it listed in order: ... Semi 2-1, Finals 1-1, Quarters 4-2, Semi 2-2, Finals 1-2, Finals 2-3. The out-of-order was really confusing.
- In Match Review, matches are not sorted by Match Number, so it can take FOREVER to find the match you need to edit.
- When printing Finals schedules, it printed the schedule out of order.
- Finals Teams Required to "Swap Stations" - I think it's ridiculous, but maybe it's expected, but in the Finals the teams had to play "musical stations" and change stations during the finals. This also caused us issues, because teams and queuers were not prepared to have to swap stations.
- Keep an Eye on the PLC Heartbeat - Matt mentioned it during training, but that PLC heartbeat is VERY important. We had one practice match and one Qualification Match affected by the FMS losing connection to the PLCs. When this happens, goals on hoops stop updating and the bridge information may be incorrect. If you notice this, let the match finish but DO NOT let the teams clear off the field and DO NOT post match results. Ryan and/or Matt can log into the PLC's and get you the information from them so you can complete your score information. When this happened, once we got all the info from Ryan, we posted results, restarted FMS, and everything began updating correctly again.
- When all robots fail to link - Three times during qualifications, and twice during eliminations, we pre-started and all DS's linked, but none of the robots would link. We backed out of pre-start and attempted another pre-start, and then robots began to link again.