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Sportsman Thoughts


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marto
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Joined: 08 Jul 2004
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Sportsman Thoughts

http://www.etotheipiplusone.net/?p=4326

Interesting read
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Steven Martin
Twisted Constructions
http://www.botbitz.com

Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:24 am 
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Nick
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Joined: 16 Jun 2004
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Location: Sydney, NSW


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Some of the rule changes are pretty good, particularly the judging. It might be hard for judges to change their mindset after judging Featherweight matches but definitely worth trying.

One thing I would like to see is opening up weight bonuses. We only have the old walker weight bonuses and so far only Miles has taken advantage of them. Banana Bender was fun to watch and we should encourage more non-wheeled locomotion. How about opening up the weight bonus for tank treads or increasing the bonus for 1DOF walkers like the Strandbeest mechanism?

A weight bonus or exemption for unusual materials would also encourage innovation and risk taking. Angus's printed spur gear drive was very cool and a first for Featherweights - we definitely need more things like that.

Temporary bonuses and weight exemptions: Most attempts at new designs and materials are clunky and heavy. I'd like to see a one year weight bonus or other incentive for unusual weapons or drive systems so that we can experiment with a prototype with the understanding that it has to evolve to be lighter, more efficient or smaller next year.
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Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:30 am 
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chunkulator



Joined: 27 Jul 2016
Posts: 211


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Don had a shuffler too at the 2016 nats. I am considering doing a full 8DOF four legged spider walker at some point, but despite being cool it would be unlikely to be nimble enough to win anything. Itís primary weapon would probably be sitting on the opponent. It probably wouldnít stand a chance against Flips or Polaris. Donít know if there are any sensible bonus schemes that would make that sort of thing worth doing though. Maybe itís just fundamentally a dumb idea.

Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:42 am 
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Nick
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That's sort of my point - really complex locomotion systems need more help than we currently give them. Making an 8DOF bot should get a huge weight bonus to make it viable.
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Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:47 am 
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Ondray



Joined: 06 Jul 2015
Posts: 125
Location: Newcastle


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Yeah, although I really like the CO2 flippers - they are the most damaging bots in the sportsman. Which limits other builders a bit. That being said, at the end of the day they are combat robots so they do need to be durable.

Using a different type of weapon or locomotion system should be encouraged, but part of the challenge is making it work in a combat robot. If we nerf the rules too much around weapon power it turns into weapon prototypes on wheels. Or locomotion prototypes without weapons. Part of me is ok with this.

Is the question do we want more than a 100% weight bonus for walkers? Because 27kg is pretty heavy compared to a 13kg bot (not to mention costly if you're using massive servos). Look at how no-one was able to push banana bender around with the 50% bonus. Someone build a 27kg walker, then we can see if it needs to be more or not.

I'm fine with weight bonus for unconventional systems - dunno about tank treads though, surely their extra grip is plenty bonus enough (I am aware of how the friction equations work, and that they aren't THAT much more grip). So if you're going for tank treads, that's a design decision on your part to prioritize grip over speed/weapons/armor.

As for being competitive, if you want to build a super competitive sportsman, I feel like you've missed the point of sportsman. If you really want to win, build the closest thing to a wedge you can within the rules. Building a walker or trying a new weapon system is something you do to see how it goes, the challenge is making it compete at all rather than trying to win. That's been my attitude, coming in as a newbie against people with 10+ years of experience, and from what I've seen the attitude of other newbies or people with unconventional designs.

This leads to the question, are we trying to look at the rules to allow unconventional designs to win or to compete? If we try to prioritize unconventional systems we could end up with a whole lot of bots that hardly work, and that's worst thing to watch.

I will say, the round robin we do in our sportsman is awesome and important for keeping the creativity up. Sounds like they do double elim in other sportsmans, that would suck. I like where our sportsmans is at rules wise and robot wise, but I'll also be fine with some tweaking.

Edit: Also I think the sportsman rules have a big part about exceptions withing the EO's discretion. So people can propose one off crazy systems that may not fit the rules, but are allowed (I do suggest people get clearance for their idea before building it, possibly even writing that into the rules for crazy designs). Or like what happened with Strange Young Man, it was overweight, it was still allowed to fight but didn't score points for the competition.

Post Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:19 pm 
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evil_steve



Joined: 06 Sep 2015
Posts: 296
Location: Adelaide, SA


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I agree with Ondray.

While the CO2 flippers are the most intimidating to fight, they are awesome fun and I wouldn't want to see them nerfed. I loved watching our multibots go flying this year, just wish they'd been working better at the start of that fight. As Charles pointed out "fast flippers" (which encompasses CO2 or electric) are the most effective sportsman design, but I think we have enough other factors here to keep the variety in the bots.

In the 3 events I've fought with sportsman bots it's been about entertainment rather than picking an overall winner - you go in each fight to win, but you're not going to get knocked out by losing. As long as you can keep your bot going, you'll get a few fights - which means you can take a "fun" but non-optimal design in and get to play more than once. It also made a nice variation from the full fat feathers at nationals last year (not sure if it was the same this year), as we got several fights with Zenghiaro against a variety of opponents.

Regarding locomotion systems - as well as the (possibly marginal) grip advantage, tank treads are a little more viable in sportsman as you don't need to worry about armouring them against spinners. I'd love to see walkers, but I think the complexity is more daunting than the weight concerns so I'm not sure how much an increased bonus would help. It'd be cool to see some other designs though - not sure if things like a hovercraft system, a jumping system, or a rolling sphere (I would love to see someone somehow make an Orb of Doom-esque bot with an active weapon!) should get a bonus, but they'd be cool.

Post Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:56 pm 
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