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M02 - Solar Panel Array

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  • #31
    According to the interference rule I think the correct call is to allow teams to use a strategy that may unintentionally block or lock the solar panel array. If this negatively impacts the other table that team is awarded points for the mission. For example, team A uses strategic objects to tip both solar panel arrays toward team B's field. Later team B tries to press one of the panels toward team A's field but fails because they are blocked by the strategic object. This is interference and the model in question should be treated as though the attempt was successful. If this was the West panel both teams get 18 points. If the East model neither team gets any points.

    I was just re-reading the original post and this line caught my eye "The rules don't say I can't manipulate the east array, so it seems to be allowed." According to the rules this is the case for all models, not just the solar panel array. The only thing preventing me driving my robot over the wall and wrecking havoc on the other table is the Interference rule.

    I think the interference rule and the shared mission (M02) are not written correctly. There should be text in M02 that says both solar panel models are in play for both tables. As written it could be argued that tipping the array in a way that reduces the other table's score is a negative impact, and there is nothing in M02 that says this is OK. It could be argued that I can't even tip the West array (supposedly my array) if it results in a lower score for the other table.
    Last edited by Dean Hystad; 02-01-2019, 12:37 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
      I think the interference rule and the shared mission (M02) are not written correctly. There should be text in M02 that says both solar panel models are in play for both tables. As written it could be argued that tipping the array in a way that reduces the other table's score is a negative impact, and there is nothing in M02 that says this is OK. It could be argued that I can't even tip the West array (supposedly my array) if it results in a lower score for the other table.
      Oh, I absolutely agree. The update they published only half addressed the issue:

      Your Robot is free and expected to switch the position of any Solar Panel at any time, to maximize your score, even though one of them wasn't called "your" panel. R16 is not a problem here because:
      • Both teams have equal/symmetrical access to both Solar Panels by design of the game.
      • The 22-point condition for M02 is about Solar Panel(s) --plural-- indicating both.
      • All of your scoring diagrams do include both panels.

      They only half addressed the ambiguity. They did make it clear, as you stated, that "both solar panel models are in play for both tables," which they needed to do. But they didn't address the blocking possibility. Presumably it's interference because if I try to tip either solar panel and find they're locked in place, then I am not "free... to switch... any solar panel at **any** time".
      Last edited by brian@kidbrothers.net; 02-03-2019, 06:06 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
        I think the interference rule and the shared mission (M02) are not written correctly. There should be text in M02 that says both solar panel models are in play for both tables. As written it could be argued that tipping the array in a way that reduces the other table's score is a negative impact, and there is nothing in M02 that says this is OK. It could be argued that I can't even tip the West array (supposedly my array) if it results in a lower score for the other table.
        Oh, I absolutely agree. The update they published only half addressed the issue:

        Your Robot is free and expected to switch the position of any Solar Panel at any time, to maximize your score, even though one of them wasn't called "your" panel. R16 is not a problem here because:
        • Both teams have equal/symmetrical access to both Solar Panels by design of the game.
        • The 22-point condition for M02 is about Solar Panel(s) --plural-- indicating both.
        • All of your scoring diagrams do include both panels.

        They only half addressed the ambiguity. They did make it clear, as you stated, that "both solar panel models are in play for both tables," which they needed to do. But they didn't address the blocking possibility. Presumably it's interference because if I try to tip either solar panel and find they're locked in place, then I am not "free... to switch... any solar panel at **any** time".

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        • #34
          Blocking does not have to be addressed because it is covered by the interference rule. With the game update M02 now specifies how you can negatively affect the other team; flip either array at any time. There is no permission given for locking or blocking. Because these have a negative impact and are not mentioned in M02 or the update, they are interference. The way interference is written the mission description doesn't have to specify what isn't allowed, only what is.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
            Blocking does not have to be addressed because it is covered by the interference rule. With the game update M02 now specifies how you can negatively affect the other team; flip either array at any time. There is no permission given for locking or blocking. Because these have a negative impact and are not mentioned in M02 or the update, they are interference. The way interference is written the mission description doesn't have to specify what isn't allowed, only what is.
            I agree in concept, but when teams show me U04 that says R16 is not an issue, it is hard to explain how/why those words apply to intentional blocking and not just the incidental contact one can expect between two bots at the same panel.

            And at least procedurally, how does one "award points" to the team that was interfered with. Since the points come form marking the combinations of the two panels. Do you mark the scoresheets of both tables to reflect the panel that "should have been moved but was blocked"? Or do you adjust only one table, etc? Both tables end up with 18+22 combo?

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            • #36
              Originally posted by dna1990 View Post

              I agree in concept, but when teams show me U04 that says R16 is not an issue, it is hard to explain how/why those words apply to intentional blocking and not just the incidental contact one can expect between two bots at the same panel.

              And at least procedurally, how does one "award points" to the team that was interfered with. Since the points come form marking the combinations of the two panels. Do you mark the scoresheets of both tables to reflect the panel that "should have been moved but was blocked"? Or do you adjust only one table, etc? Both tables end up with 18+22 combo?
              I think the interference rule applies equally to intentional blocking and incidental contact. I don't think you can prevent a team using equipment that might block the solar panel array. There is no rule that says you cannot do things that might interfere, only a rule about what to do when interference occurs. If I clamp down the East array and you never approach the array there is no interference. If I use equipment that normally wouldn't cause interference but get stuck on the array, and this prevents your robot flipping the array it is interference. Intent doesn't come into play, only results. Smart teams that read the rules will quickly realize that intentionally blocking the array only harms themselves as any attempt by the other team to flip the array automatically succeeds.

              Procedurally you award points by assuming the interfered mission completed successfully. If you flip your solar array using some equipment left behind and I try to flip your panel later on, but fail because of the equipment, you interfered with my robot and the solar array is positioned as it would be if I succeeded. This will have to happen in real time because there should be an opportunity to re-flip.

              I think this was a poorly designed mission. I like the idea, but the implementation is lacking. The solution's I've seen so far are all independent of what happens on the other table; teams either flip the west array (18 points), flip both arrays (40 points), or do nothing (0 or 22 points). Ok, they all depend on what happens on the other table, but nobody has mentioned, and I ask, discussing the mission with the other team prior to the match. If FLL wants teams to work together they need to change the tournament structure, possibly replacing individual table runs with some sort of alliance challenge. The half-baked approach of one mission that seldom benefits from cooperation is not working.
              Last edited by Dean Hystad; 02-04-2019, 03:07 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
                And at least procedurally, how does one "award points" to the team that was interfered with. Since the points come form marking the combinations of the two panels. Do you mark the scoresheets of both tables to reflect the panel that "should have been moved but was blocked"? Or do you adjust only one table, etc? Both tables end up with 18+22 combo?
                Right, and what if the kids saw one solar panel was blocked and were forced to change their strategy on the fly (for instance, if they had planned on waiting until the last second to flip both panels, and now they won't be able to)? So now they are awarded points for other missions that got messed up by the interference? I'm being ridiculous, of course, but the whole thing gets quite problematic very quickly.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
                  There is no rule that says you cannot do things that might interfere, only a rule about what to do when interference occurs. If I clamp down the East array and you never approach the array there is no interference. If I use equipment that normally wouldn't cause interference but get stuck on the array, and this prevents your robot flipping the array it is interference. Intent doesn't come into play, only results.
                  But, just to play devil's advocate, couldn't a team glance over at a "blocked" solar panel and decide not to run a mission they knew was going to fail? Would that count as interference? They would see the obvious interference without needing to "prove" the interference by wasting precious seconds during the match attempting to run a doomed mission.

                  To take the idea a step further, say the other team just reached over and stole all our satellites. Would our team need to try running a satellite delivery program on our robot (even though we don't have any satellites to deliver) to claim interference?

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by brian@kidbrothers.net View Post

                    But, just to play devil's advocate, couldn't a team glance over at a "blocked" solar panel and decide not to run a mission they knew was going to fail? Would that count as interference? They would see the obvious interference without needing to "prove" the interference by wasting precious seconds during the match attempting to run a doomed mission.

                    To take the idea a step further, say the other team just reached over and stole all our satellites. Would our team need to try running a satellite delivery program on our robot (even though we don't have any satellites to deliver) to claim interference?
                    Interference requires demonstrable negative impact. I know this is not mentioned in the interference rule, but everything else in the rules is based on things the robot does, not what the robot can potentially do. For there to be interference you need to see there is interference, not just potential for interference.

                    To your second question, yes, I think you would have to unsuccessfully run the mission without satellites to demonstrate interference. You don't get rewarded for potential interference, though I don't think you would need to drive very far to prove that the satellites were not going to make it into orbit because of actions taken by the other robot. If you find yourself at a tournament with satellite robbers I advise you to keep the satellites in off table storage. The devil's advocate has to present a plausible alternative. I think satellite theft is reduction ad absurdum. Still fun though.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post

                      Interference requires demonstrable negative impact. I know this is not mentioned in the interference rule, but everything else in the rules is based on things the robot does, not what the robot can potentially do. For there to be interference you need to see there is interference, not just potential for interference.
                      So our plan to pay the opposite team $100 to reach over and mess up our entire board isn't going to actually get us 300+ points? Bummer!!

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                      • #41
                        For those that attended Houston, were there any interesting strategies with the solar panels? Did any teams try moving a panel that had already been moved by the other team? Did any teams try blocking a panel (probably not allowed, but still wonder if any tried). Any other creative solutions for any other missions?
                        Norfolk, Virginia, USA
                        FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

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