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Review on NSW event operations
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andrew



Joined: 16 Jun 2004
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Location: Castle Hill, Sydney. N.S.W


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Review on NSW event operations

Hello all,

Felt it is required to start this thread to in a polite and productive way discuss methods in which future events in both the draw, the scoring system and how it is done can be improved upon for both the audience to engage in as well as fellow builders to follow

This came from numerous comments ive heard over time from other builders of grumblings in the outcomes of how things have operated and from my own experience last event where my beetle which i spent good time building around two jobs and tafe commitments to support angus's event lost a close judges decision against killer (killer couldnt drive and i had one drive out) won against the irritating noodler, got a buy, won via forfeit against whirlwind and then suddenly was out of the competition.

I am not having a go at anybody especially jake as he works his ass off every event and i personally apologise for getting angry last event but i feel this needs to be discussed and resolved as well as any other matters builders have with the system as i still cant fathom how i lost a close match to the champ, won and that was it.
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Post Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Glen
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Well i have a metric tonne of thoughts to spray onto the interwebs soonish when it comes to public events lol. But i reckon that was a good event considering and everyone worked super hard.

Before i take off on a potentially misguided diatrabe on nothing in particular, i have to say i don't and never have totally understood how our scoring system goes so won't weigh on that (not being a facetious bastard when i say that Razz). I stole the Qld system for my ant event cause it can be all done on paper/whiteboard easy enough and i understood it + wanted to keep a handle on everything personally. I don't doubt our setup is more 'politically correct' when it comes to dealing with every conceivable outcome. But it flies way over my thick head Razz

A simplified posting of the methodology to it would be kinda nice. If only for posterity and reference.

Anyway, seems as though we are trying to take on everything at once, like event organisation and running of the day effectively while trying to get multiple robots going. It doesn't work anywhere lol. Example - find a sport where a competitor is running the event Razz

There needs to be a dedicated third party to just oversee the event on the day itself, which is a basic job lets be fair. Bark at people to get their robots together in short order, announce, list fights, look after the computers/whiteboard draw and such. But when you're trying to replace gear-motors and tiny parts in your beetles and ants time slips away at an alarming rate.

Ditto on the judges. at least two people that can dedicate themselves to the task who aren't competing would be ideal, specially for the 'show' aspect Smile The announcer can confer with them after a fight and have it be explained why robot a won etc. Just a nice professional touch to the overall production of the event i think.

Following on from all that, a bit of empathy couldn't hurt. From a crowd standpoint, its just randomised meaningless fights. Good fights for sure, but what reason is there to stay and watch for the day when this is the case.

Showing the crowd how the competition is progressing is a MUST imho given at the end of the day this is a...... well, competition lol. At one of the ideas festivals they showed a spreadsheet with the running points tallied up on the giant screen for the round robin competition. That was great not only from a competitors standpoint, but i do remember vividly the crowd looking up at the scoreboard and pointing out which robots were fighting from the scoreboard when announced.

I may be biased on that front, having fond memories of smashing the VCR onto record and dying of anticipation when the semi finals and finals were finally on FOX 8 for robot wars UK ;p

The beetle arena is probably as good as it will ever be (aka it now goes up without resorting to hammers and swearing Razz!) our next focus should be on getting the 'show' side of things smoothed out and running well. We can run events for ourselves no problem. We've done that for nearly 10 years. Lets go to the next level and put something on the crowd can get into just as much as they did with the old robot wars Smile

With the above and a general visual improvement of the inside of the arena, maybe give it some kind of thematic look battlebots and Robotwars style, as well as a robot activated pit in the least should give us a perfect base to go from Very Happy

Oh and Lastly, on a more trivial note, as Jaemus remarked, we should have plastered the arena in our banners and website address. But that's 20/20 hindsight Razz D'OH!

Interested in everyone on the boards thoughts anyway. I know these discussions never find that golden bullet that will shoot our little hobby back into the mainstream, but a little improvement here and there can never go astray.
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Post Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:08 pm 
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dyrodium
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Fact is, I can't compete AND run an event. I do these events because I want to compete more... sooo it's a bit of a fail from that angle.

I'm all for pleasing the crowd, but truth be told the effort that went to making it public really just didn't add up. The intention of starting the Serial space event this and last year was primarily to get more competitors, they have to start paying us a fair chunk to put on proper 'entertainment' events...

Post Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:25 pm 
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Nick
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We really need a 'no picture, no rego' rule - Jake should get a pic of every bot at least a week before an event for the scoring system. I found it difficult to sort out which bot was on which side of the scoring screen without the photo. It was also hard to keep track of the byes and forfeits, which is probably the reason for Andrew's problem.

A scoreboard for public events would be great but hard to implement, particularly for our round-robin format. I think Jake's software has a summary page, perhaps that can be formatted for audience viewing on a projector? If that doesn't work, perhaps we can export to another PC; I can put something together in a small case from spare parts.

Post Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Glen
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No money need be spent to make things more entertaining (if only marginally), the arenas paid off and its done.

"Fact is, I can't compete AND run an event." - No one can do them both properly Razz, thus my saying we'll get someone dedicated to running the day. Then you can enjoy competing 100% and things are looked after easy as.
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Post Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:46 pm 
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Valen
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i'll start at the end but this is a braindump and its almost 3 am.

If we want the rounds to "run better" we need to post a timetable.

I don't kick you guys into line because
1) your my freinds and nobody wants to say "frank your 15 seconds late getting your bot into the marshalling area you forefit this round.
2) I'm not the E/O that's their job lol.

If we want it to run like that I'm happy to do it if I can have an assistant who can take over when my bot is busted and i need to work on it.

If we split the E/O and "Round Manager" into 2.5 jobs with a set timetable in advance, i think everybody can have a bot and do their job at a public event.

What is needed for smooth running of a match is an umpire, separate role from the judges, just like in the boxing. A person who is umpire is responsible for pausing the match and asking competitors to show movement, also for pausing and allowing unsticks etc. This is the person the drivers need to talk to during the match about any issues they are having. Presently this is "self governed" and it tends to work out rather poorly as everybody has different styles and definitions of disabled.

Registrations is where the current program sucks and why i haven't handed it out to everybody to use yet, i never got around to making it work because i could just edit the database by hand good enough. I'm integrating it with the botregister system now so it should make all that stuff simpler and i hope to pass it out for everybody to use in the not too distant future. Also i think a rule of no photo = no registration is a good one. I Have a bit more time up my sleeve these days and it has actually been making some progress.

Instant feedback is required, However I haven't yet worked out a good way of achieving this. The printer is the best idea I've had as internet access at events is often crappy at best. I may have some spare laptops that i could donate to the club that we could use for competitors to check their scores on and such in real time? would that be good enough?

===============================================

I have tried a few times to explain the scoring system but if the concept of an average is a distant memory you may want to brush up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average
There's alot of words here but i'm trying to break the concepts down as simply as possible. If you have a question please ask it. If you don't understand it odds are other people won't either so its better to speak now.

The goal when we started all this was to have exciting finals, lots of matches and a fair system. We wanted to reward exciting bots and reliable bots. If you have a mediocre wedge, don't expect to be granted a free pass to the finals because you didn't loose all day, if the next wedge along was winning epicly and you were just doing good enough then he should go through and you shouldn't.
We also wanted "exciting" and interesting bots to get through even if they didn't win all their rounds, chaotic tendencies springs to mind here.

With that as the goal this is how it works
The simple side of it is the straight win/loss, fairly simple to understand, going back to classic RW judging, who immobilised who, who was controlling the match etc.
(We should have hard criteria for all this btw)
The only trick here is if a judge can't decide they are allowed to award multiple winners (or losers), so its possible for both robots to win a match (a tie if you will) also its possible for both to loose if they suck too hard to call it.

The points are awarded on the basis of how the bot compared to all matches ever, well that was the original meaning for it looking at how the scores are being allocated these days its more like a measure of audience appeal. How exciting was the bot in the ring. I don't view this as a bad thing per say but it is different to how it all started, if we want to use it like this then that's fine.

The tricky part of the system is handling byes, forefits and "skips" and i think this is what confuses everybody.

Any system where you allocate a fixed number of points for a bye/forefit means that if you are sucking that day a bye improves your overall score, if your kicking ass then it penalises you.

What we do is add up all the fights you have *actually been in* and work out your average score.
So if you win 3 matches and get a bye for the 4th and final say.
3 wins / 3 rounds (ignoring the bye) = an average win ratio of 1 (ie you win all your fights)

if you win 2 fights and loose 3
2 wins / 5 rounds = a win ratio of .4

Even though the second person had more rounds the comparison is still as fair as we can make it.

A skip counts as half a round
so if you win 2, skip 1 then loose 1 you get
2 wins / 2 rounds + 1 loss and .5 of a skip =
2 / 3.5 = .59

The reason for the skip is to punish people for missing a round, but not as much as entering then forefitting, so we can give active competitors a better round with fewer byes. With our draw system there is only 1 bye per round if nobody forefits.


We do the same with the points, to come up with an average score.

To select the finalists, we take the two bots with the highest win ratio and the two with the highest score, in that order. This in theory gives us the two "champion" robots as well as the two most exciting/dangerous but unreliable robots and pits them against each other in the final.

To split ties, we use the highest of the other category. IE 3 bots with a win ratio of 1, we take the 2 highest scores.

Highest win ratio vs lowest score, middle vs middle gives the semi finals.

That's how the current system works.

If we want to dump the score aspect of it and just use straight wins with the 4 highest bots going through that's fine, but you need some way of splitting a tie.

=================================
The draw
The goal of the draw was to try and give the builders as much variety as possible.
Its a modified round robin system.
Basically as we generally have way more bots than we have rounds it tries to pick an optimal "round" given the available competitors.
That means it tries to avoid state vs state matches and team vs team matches, but it will still run those if it means avoiding a repeat of an earlier match. It runs through every possible combination of matches available with the current selection of bots to spit out the "best" round. Provided the registration info is accurate i think we all agree the fights we get out of it are the best we could ask for. There is provision to do things like favour spinner Vs brick but we didn't put that in as it seemed like it was going too far into meddling with the matches, taking the randomness out of it.

=========================


Also andrew, you have a habit of "winning" the match, but then rather than showing that the other person is immobilised and your fine. You keep attacking them so its quite hard to determine if they are immobile or your both just flying into each other, I try to pay particular attention to it looking for wheel rotation and the like but its not easy, if you suspect the other person is disabled, drive away from them and do a figure 8, shows you are in full control and that the other person can't move to attack you. You have won and the round is over.
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:44 am 
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Daniel
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In other words Andrew was too aggressive and entertaining to get into the final? He should have gone for the KO istead. I wonder if football seasons should be ranked on tries/goals scored instead of games won. I still prefer white boards and lots of different coloured pens.

Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:22 am 
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Valen
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Joined: 07 Jul 2004
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He was driving a wedge in this instance and was partially disabled himself so it wasn't particularly exciting. That said he missed out on the finals by 0.2 in the score department so it wasn't by a huge margin. In the ants his tactic of being entertaining paid off with one of his bots getting in on score alone and the Other on win ratio.
You can run an averages based system on a whiteboard. We started out that way. It just gets messy when you have lots of rounds. Also a calculator helps to work out the maths.
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:43 am 
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Nick
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Those are all good ideas and comments Jake! It took me a few competitions to get the scoring system and now it make perfect sense.

How about setting up a PC as a web server with Wifi to show the scores? Your laptop could push new data up via a file share / FTP / HTTP and the server could publish on a page for display on smartphones or a local monitor. That would also be a good way to publish a live match schuling program.

Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Valen
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I was actually thinking similar thoughts.
I have an AP i can donate now as well.

Only issue and it is minor, is if peoples phones/whatever associate with the AP they will expect to get internet over it and may whine about not getting it.

But if i make a dedicated "battleputer" that is the clubs, I'll set it up as its own webserver etc, plug the AP in and if we have more laptops or whatever they can all tie into it for results display.

I think its worth using the AP for wifi, to get better range etc vs adhoc or mangling the internal wifi of a laptop into ap mode. I'll set the battleputer up for dhcp and dns serving so you can go to "http://battleputer" and wind up at the page.
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Nick
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If people want internet access at events they should buy a 4G phone Smile Liking the Battleputer + AP

Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:01 pm 
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Jaemus
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I'm actually quite interested in volunteering to run the floor show / round manager / production manager / whatever you want to call it for the next public event, the only trouble is how far away I am makes it difficult to put extra time and effort into these things. I have had all these same ideas listed above and more.

Thoughts;

- Glen can really stitch some words together well for a bloke from Shalvey Smile
- Angus is correct in that the EO cant also do this job. He did a damn good job of organising RSK2 and having to run it on the day as well as compete was never going to be easy, and certainly probably sapped alot of the fun out of it for him. The EO can manage to also be a competitor IF there is a round manager as well
- Jake is quite correct in that merely providing and driving the battleputer doesnt make him the round manager. Although this does (as i have discussed with him) make the necessity of making the battleputer foolproof and relatively intuitive for people other than himself to use, fairly important. Once again I can offer to write some software to do this, if Jake doesnt have time.
- wifi trickery is good but it would be better to implement alongside a traditional system for displaying matches and scores, which need only consist of a large monitor for public display which is actually updated on the fly by the round manager / automatically by the battleputer or whatever
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:41 pm 
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andrew



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ok i understand most of that the part i disagree with is how the champions are decided on points which adds favouritism into the mix of designs. Spinners are more exciting then a well driven wedge but a well driven wedge can win most matches depending

My match with glen i considered damn exciting, i brought it to him, controlled him for some periods, he gave me some good whacks and i still came back pushing the action. We were both considered immobile roughly same time hence the match went to judges and Glen got the nod. I understand and respect that. My next match was against the noodler which was a frustrating clash of designs where i couldnt do much to him not due to lack of effort.

I got a buy, my opponent forfeited and i was out of the comp.

I had no controll on who i fought and when yet if i say drew your ring spinner or hammerhead than that would have been a much more exciting match where i may have scored higher

Long story short what occured was out of my controll and my event record was one win and one loss. The only competition where that has ever occured in history of a one loss and your done comp is battlebots and robot wars. Now the reason we chose this system is so we get a good number of matches each even if we do lose a match or two and this is not what occured for me.

I put in the time to build these things to COMPETE. To put it against somebody elses design oif whatever sort and come the end of three minutes of action (or lack there of) we have us a winner and a loser

the fact that my hard work didnt even get a chance to have a crack against the best due to points is disgraceful in my opinion over things that were out of my controll. I would have loved to have been thrown in against whirlwind, hammerhead, killer again, your ring spinner or dylons melty spinner and truthfully i would have given all of them a good challenge or if not i would have stayed working long enough to get thrown around and come back in there face for more which is the recipe for the best type of match u can hope for or to get my parts scattered and go out trying.

In my eyes this is entertainment in a form but the bottom line for me is it is COMPETITION. I won one match, lost one match and the earliest i found out of what was happening was when they announced the final.

Also i keep on people as long as some of there robot still moves to push the action and keep entertainment up. I could do a team inertia of battlebots fame, get my quick hit, drive back to my corner and wait but its boring. Id rather hit the other guy upright again and keep it going as long as possible. Ive won and lost matches doing this but its the way i fight and it keeps things interesting.


End of the day ill turn up and compete no matter what majority wants to do but if i travelled interstate for an event like that and got one close loss and another shitty match i could question further supporting that event again. If i lost twice fair enough of got slaughtered in the process but one loss and

one win during rounds one after the other then hearing nothing then to find out "oh your done" is a poor way to handle it.

This is nothing personal but as a competitior i feel it could have been handled better, explained better or looked into more. My way of looking into it is the guy who wins is the guy who wins the most, not the guy whos design tickles the fancy of the three guys punching in some numbers.
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:57 pm 
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Valen
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so the fundamental question wrt battleputer.
Is it a good thing or do you want whiteboards?
do you want the points or just wins and losses?
If you do just wins, how do we break a tie?

jaemus, I'll probably still write it in python if people want another battleputer, its much more future proof than VB6, but python is more like VB6 than VB.net is like VB6. That or php, so it can also be web based if people want that. I was thinking of offering stuff like having the battleputer record the events etc, and take snaps of bots for registration, thats only really possible with python.
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:20 pm 
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dyrodium
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Andrew, a bye is chance and a forfeit is unfortunate. 0 control over that. The day had 8 rounds in total plus finals and considering we had to be done by 5 and first fight was 10:30 I think an extra round each class would have only been possible with the dedicated EO previously mentioned.

With the points thing, I think spinners deserve more points because they are a harder design to build and make work, a spinner that sucks will still get sfa points. Same goes for various other active weapon designs.

This thread is treading a fine line between saying things and doing things... Jake, again if I ran an event again I'd take whatever was offered and be thankful for it. Your system works for me as EO and will continue to do so until someone offers any sort of improved system for the concerns raised.

Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:38 pm 
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