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  • M02 - solar panel array

    Mission Discussion Thread

  • #2
    This looks fun.

    But what about R16 Interference. Unlike a more traditional center-shared mission, these tend to have more a "yours" and "theirs" label...good for scoring, but what will it say about reaching across to manipulate the other side?

    In comparison to say the HD Water Pump, these models seem much more accessible (likely) to reach from the other side.

    In design, it looks most similar (to me) as the Rat mission in Food Factor. It was not all interference to grab "both rats".


    I may not have exhausted all scoring combinations, but it seems to me the only way to negatively affect the other team (by changing their Panel), is if both Panels were tilted to your side and you push them "both" back over. Essentially moving the +18 from them to you. But that seems unlikely for a team to expend energy to do when the Panels were already in a scoring condition with at least some points for your team. But if you happen to be at a match with top two seeds, a 36pt swing could be huge. Maybe one other example, if your Panel is still center and the other is pushed to you, by pushing it back, you reduce their points by 18, no change to your score.

    But. Is all of the above "negative impact" moot for M02? Since all scoring conditions are described and somewhat expect? The mission is about planning/negotiating/reacting to another team's approach. Meaning, this mission should only be held for R16 issues if the two robots actively block or interfere with one another or prevent the other robot from reaching/changing a Panel...?

    Comment


    • #3
      I can easily see a team having a strategy to push each of the solar panels toward the opposite table as they roam around doing other missions, so to score max points. As a referee, I certainly would like some guidance about whether that is allowed, as the rules aren't specific about the status of mission models that are shared.

      Of course, we've got GP2 to say that if a detail isn't mentioned, then it doesn't matter.

      R16's text is "not allowed to negatively affect the other team except as described in a Mission".

      It's tricky: Moving a model into a position where it would score fewer points seems like a negative affect, and the text of M02 is silent about which team is allowed to move which panels. Does that mean it "doesn't matter", and that therefore teams can move both panels?

      Seems like a clarification would be helpful, at least to the Referees. FIRST may not want to issue an Update about it since it could tip-off a strategic advantage.
      Last edited by Tom Mosher; 08-01-2018, 03:49 PM. Reason: typo
      FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think that we're going to continue to see two-piece shared missions like M02 in the future, and it's clear to me that moving one or both of the Solar Arrays into position is allowed by the Mission, and will not be Interference. It's going to be a rare Challenge that says something like "it's okay to knock the other team's ball out of the shared hoop."

        I'm even willing to discuss whether two Robots getting tied up with each other when both going to manipulate the shared mission Models could be expected since they are both in a known area of common interest, so it might not be Interference. The most suitable response could be to rescue and relaunch, without a Penalty. (flames are expected in your replies ;-)
        Steve Scherr
        Referee and Judge, Virginia-DC, Maryland, and Ohio
        FLL Global Head Referee

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't disagree with you. But consistent rule interpretation should be a goal, and not be left up to the variation of referee training and opinion.
          FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
            I may not have exhausted all scoring combinations, but it seems to me the only way to negatively affect the other team (by changing their Panel), is if both Panels were tilted to your side and you push them "both" back over. Essentially moving the +18 from them to you.
            But wouldn't they have already negatively affected you by moving your panel? Of course, that'd only be negative if you've already pushed your panel away from your field. This could turn into a room with parallel mirrors....

            Of course, if one team never even attempts to move their panel there's no interference. But there's also no text in R16 that tells me that the team that moved (already moved) panels and therefore DID actual interference would NOT get 40 points for M02. So would they both get 40?

            Originally posted by scherrsj View Post
            I'm even willing to discuss whether two Robots getting tied up with each other when both going to manipulate the shared mission Models could be expected since they are both in a known area of common interest, so it might not be Interference. The most suitable response could be to rescue and relaunch, without a Penalty. (flames are expected in your replies ;-)
            I'm sorry to disappoint you Steve, but you'll get no flames from me on that paragraph. I agree with you, and would also go for a "disentangle, relaunch, no penalty" result from this.

            Since these mission models obviously have shared interest, and since they aren't actually in either team's Field, I'm inclined to be very lenient about calling interference. I don't think that just moving the other team's Panel is sufficient cause, regardless of its position before your robot moved it. Since there's no method "*" in the Technically Speaking section I'm going with "the end position after the match is all that matters."
            Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
            KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at kcfllref@gmail.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Upon further review, I've changed my mind (though an official clarification would still be helpful):

              Based on similar previous rulings (the "Ball Game" from Senior Solutions (?) comes to mind), it isn't interference if a team is only altering the other team's potential points. No points exist at all until the end of the match. In this case I think the mission rule creates the required exception to the Interference rule.

              If I recall correctly from the last time I puzzled-out this logic, illegal interference would be something like Team B's robot trying and failing to move one of the panels due to some physical impediment by Team A. Only actual interference is considered, not theoretical interference.
              FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

              Comment


              • #8
                If we allow team B to change what team A did so that it gets the 40 points, what about if team A sets the panels for 40, and then inserts pegs to prevent team B from changing the panels to it's advantage? Should this allowed? Just being provocative.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by alanggreen View Post
                  If we allow team B to change what team A did so that it gets the 40 points, what about if team A sets the panels for 40, and then inserts pegs to prevent team B from changing the panels to it's advantage? Should this allowed? Just being provocative.
                  It would be Interference only if Team B makes an attempt to move the panels and Team A's actions prevented the panels from moving.

                  For example, it wouldn't be interference if Team B never even attempts the mission.

                  Note that if Team B has that mission planned but Team A jams the mechanisms and Team B turns to the Refs and says "Team A interfered with the model, so we can't run our mission", then the Ref has a decision to make. Maybe BOD goes to Team B, and team A scores zero points for that mission.
                  Last edited by Tom Mosher; 08-05-2018, 12:06 PM.
                  FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    N.B. Loose fitting pegs or other jamming Equipment, of course (R11).

                    I was developing a fairly benign view of Interference during the last Challenge.

                    [I am going to use the word "may" below, in order to acknowledge that some actions might happen on the Field, whether or not they should (GP1?)]
                    The team may touch the Robot outside Base (R10), but there are consequences (R14) [e.g. possible Penalty, loss of Things]
                    The Robot may damage Mission Models, but there are consequences (R17) [may not earn points for a Mission]
                    A team may cause Interference, but there are consequences...

                    I agree with Tom on several points:
                    -- I like the rationale that points aren't earned until the end of the Match, so trying to create a valid scoring condition for your team on the shared Mission is okay, even when it changes a position that was beneficial for the other team
                    -- R16 says that if Team A inhibits Team B from doing something to score points, then Team B will get points for a Mission if it fails because of the Interference.
                    -- R16 says that if Team B doesn't try for points after an potentially interfering action by Team A, then Team B doesn't get those points. I think that most of us agree that Team A may get points for whatever of their Missions were involved in the potentially interfering action.

                    R16 says that if Team A causes Interference, then there are consequences --> Team B may get points.
                    So, why shouldn't we let Team A earn the points based on what they did? R16 doesn't say anything about what happens to Team A.

                    <excursion>
                    Like many of you, I am continuing to advocate for explicit wording in the Rules to say that if something unallowable happens (e.g. manual action outside Base, scoring with something tightly combined with a Mission Model) then the Referee may try to undo it, or may disallow points for mission conditions caused by the unallowable action. I ask my refs to do both of these. I can generally justify restoring the Field conditions under BoD--it's a tough call that helps the Team. It's harder to claim the Benefit for using something unallowable. But, under GP1, the teams should be competing against problems, and there are constraints in problems, so scoring points by unallowable means is the wrong goal for being in FLL. [Basically, I wield GP5 to maintain the playability of the Game.]
                    </excursion>

                    Okay, so I've told you that I'm willing to disallow points that occur through unallowable action. But R16 tells us exactly what to do, and it doesn't involve Team A. So is Team A's action [always] unallowable?

                    Here's an extreme hypothetical situation.
                    Team A has super Core Values, and they say to themselves, "Why should only one team be able to score full points for M02? Is there something that we can do so both teams may score full points?"
                    So their design has the Robot positioning both Solar Arrays to the north and inhibiting them from moving back, and they do this as early in the Match as possible, thinking that if Team B later attempts to move B's west Array (and maybe their east Array), then Team B should earn 18 points due to Interference, Team A earns 18 points because of the end condition of the Field, and both Teams earn 22 points because of the end condition of the Field.
                    Team A was competing against a problem and came up with a solution that was beneficial to both teams, so we should applaud it. (GP1)

                    Of course, we generally don't consider intent, and we want to treat all teams the same, so maybe we generalize that to apply to anyone.

                    Your thoughts?
                    Steve Scherr
                    Referee and Judge, Virginia-DC, Maryland, and Ohio
                    FLL Global Head Referee

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am continuing to advocate for explicit wording in the Rules to say that if something unallowable happens (e.g. manual action outside Base, scoring with something tightly combined with a Mission Model) then the Referee may try to undo it, or may disallow points for mission conditions caused by the unallowable action.
                      I would love that. There are lots of rules that have no "or else..." coverage. Here is a partial list (and comments about what refs options refs seem to have):
                      • Illegal robot (R01 through R07). Typically the ref would not allow an illegal robot to participate, but there's no rule that says so.
                      • R10 - Refs should try to un-do the illegal action? Or score no points for those missions?
                      • Both bullets of R11 (mission model handling). Disallow the mission during scoring? Impound the model during the match?
                      • R13 - Illegal launch. Typically refs will ask the team to re-launch the robot, but what about letting it run but invalidate any missions scored?
                      At the moment there are no consistent consequences except the Interruption penalty and "the other team scores points if you interfere with them". And even "interference" is a pretty squishy definition (what exactly is "negative affect")?

                      I ask my refs to do both of these
                      Under GP5 point #4, I agree with you. But that can cause inconsistent outcomes. None of these should be "unclear situations".
                      FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's an extreme hypothetical situation.
                        Team A has super Core Values, and they say to themselves, "Why should only one team be able to score full points for M02? Is there something that we can do so both teams may score full points?"
                        So their design has the Robot positioning both Solar Arrays to the north and inhibiting them from moving back, and they do this as early in the Match as possible, thinking that if Team B later attempts to move B's west Array (and maybe their east Array), then Team B should earn 18 points due to Interference, Team A earns 18 points because of the end condition of the Field, and both Teams earn 22 points because of the end condition of the Field.
                        Team A was competing against a problem and came up with a solution that was beneficial to both teams, so we should applaud it. (GP1)
                        This scenario confuses me. An example (with reference to Team A's side of the table):
                        Team A's robot pushes both solar panels to the north. If the match ended now, Team B would score 22, and Team A would score 22+18. This is the "red" circled scoring condition in the attached image.

                        During the match, if Team A has not jammed the models, then Team B could push their West solar panel, creating the blue-circled condition. Team A and Team B both score 18 points.

                        But if Team A had jammed the models, and Team B tries to push their West model, the end-of-match status is the red circle, and outcome would be:
                        • Team A gets 22+18 points, because that is the state of the Field, and nothing in the rules allows the Ref to deduct from a team's score under R16. This situation does not fall under GP5, because it isn't an "unclear situation".
                        • Team B gets 18 points for the mission they attempted but could not accomplish due to Interference from Team A
                        • So attempting the mission after the interference costs Team B four points.

                        solar_panel_score.JPG
                        Last edited by Tom Mosher; 08-06-2018, 05:43 PM.
                        FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My speculation about scoring after interference is based on the second bullet from R16--"Missions the other team tries but fails because of illegal action by you or your Robot will count for them."

                          R16 says that Team B gets the points for the attempted Mission.
                          R16 does not say "The Referee mentally changes the condition of the Field based on the interfered-with actions, and bases Team B's score on that virtual condition."

                          In most cases, the way that I think about what "should have happened" is essentially to consider that virtual condition--which scoring condition was inhibited. Since M02 has two independent scoring conditions, I'm not 100% sure that I must evaluate the second scoring condition using the virtual state of the field.

                          Steve Scherr
                          Referee and Judge, Virginia-DC, Maryland, and Ohio
                          FLL Global Head Referee

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think this mission or the interference rule requires an update.

                            Consider the following scenario:
                            Team A is a top team and goes and pushes both panels "away", then continues on other missions. Team B is relatively unsophisticated, but manages to have a bot that pushes their panel "away" when they go out to release the car. At the end of the round, both are "away" from their owners.

                            By Rule 16.1, Team B interfered with Team A, because they negatively impacted Team A.
                            You could interpret Rule 16.1 to say that Team B is "allowed to interfere" because scoring their own Solar Panel is described in a mission.
                            This interpretation would mean that ALL scoring for M02 cannot be subject to interference, because scoring both sides is described in a mission.
                            But M02 never actually says you can score the other team's Solar Panel, just describes how to score the various positions, so it is debatable whether scoring the other team's panel is "described in a mission". While it doesn't say you can score your own, I think that is a reasonable assumption to make, but it is not as reasonable to assume that not mentioning scoring the other team's panel implies that you can.

                            Therefore, I think we need a clarification.
                            MA Head Referee since 1999
                            Sharon Youth Robotics Association

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scherrsj View Post
                              My speculation about scoring after interference is based on the second bullet from R16--"Missions the other team tries but fails because of illegal action by you or your Robot will count for them."

                              R16 says that Team B gets the points for the attempted Mission.
                              R16 does not say "The Referee mentally changes the condition of the Field based on the interfered-with actions, and bases Team B's score on that virtual condition."

                              In most cases, the way that I think about what "should have happened" is essentially to consider that virtual condition--which scoring condition was inhibited. Since M02 has two independent scoring conditions, I'm not 100% sure that I must evaluate the second scoring condition using the virtual state of the field.
                              I'm more puzzled now than before.

                              If I have this hard a time getting my head around how to make an Interference ruling, I'm certainly going to blow it badly if I have to make that ruling at the end of the day having seen 90 matches already.
                              FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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