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Game Rules and Game Play - Answer Thread

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  • Ramp Access and Trapping

    Originally posted by FTC8045
    Hi, Posts 157 and 160 address this, but it seems like "ramp access" is being interpreted in different ways.

    We believe the definition of accessible is not dependent on any particular robot. We believe that just as the Platform has two sides that are accessible, the Ramp also has two sides which are accessible.

    If a robot solely parked in front of the short edge of the opposition's ramp (without entering the keep out zone) for the entire driver controlled portion of the match, the entire long edge of the ramp is still accessible. Certainly if an opposition robot is still on the ramp, they can drive off the long edge and are not denied access to the entire field. Likewise, while parked in front of the short edge, the entire long edge is still accessible, and as such they should not be assessed a penalty. We've seen writing and video that makes us believe many refs are defining the short edge of the ramp as the only way to access the ramp. If that interpretation is valid then the logic would follow in the above case that a penalty is warranted for blocking access.

    While most of the official answers are prefaced with "If the Ref believes", we believe it would serve refs and teams well if you could clarify this point and let us have a consistent interpretation.

    Is the ramp to be considered accessible from short side only, or both the short and long sides?

    A: If a defending robot parks in front of the ramp and prevents an opposing alliance robot from being able to drive up the ramp, the defending robot is in violation of <G10>. Penalties should be applied based on the sequences in <G10>


    • Center Goal Backstop Part of Tube

      Originally posted by FTC1001
      It is clear in post #106 that the backstop is part of the "goal". It is not clear if it is part of the "tube". The distinction is important for assessing penalties.

      A: Yes. The backstop that is part of the Center Goal is considered an extension of the tube and all rules that apply to the tube apply to the backstop as well.


      • Scoring While in Possession of More than 5 Balls

        Originally posted by FTC4997
        If a robot is holding 6 or more balls and wants to score them can they score the 6 or more and only have 5 count or do they need to drop all the extras first before they score the 5 remaining? If they did score all of them what penalties would be called? What if they are holding a rolling goal. Do they have to disconnect from the rolling goal before they can shore the 5 after dropping the extra. Can you be more specific for how you can get back into compliance after holding more than 5 balls.

        Team 4997

        A: Immediately upon collecting the 6th ball, the robot should receive a minor penalty (and an additional minor penalty for each 5 seconds that it holds the 6 balls). A Double minor penalty would also be earned for scoring a ball while in control of more than 5 balls. Once the initial ball is scored, the robot is no longer in control of more than 5 balls.

        The only way to no longer be violating <GS1> is to release a ball. If that release involves scoring, it includes additional penalties per <GS1>, There is no requirement related to the rolling goals (i.e. it does not have to be released)


        • Robot Out of Bounds

          Originally posted by FTC9497
          Our robot has a forklift that allows it to pick up a goal and drive around. During end game the team drove up the ramp and pulled forward on the level part of the ramp. This resulted in the fork portion of the robot and the goal to be "outside" the field boundary but in complete control of the robot. Would this result in a penalty? Would the goal and robot still score as being off the playing field floor?

          A1: If the robot makes contact with anything outside the field, it would be in violation of <S2> and would be disabled for the remainder of the match. If at anytime, the referees determine that the robots reaching outside of the field is unsafe, the robot is in violation of <S1> and would be disabled for the remainder of the match. Remember that repeated violations of either <S1> or <S2> can lead to disqualification.

          A2: Both the robot and the goal should count as scored for being off the playing field surface.


          • Center Goal Defense

            Originally posted by FTC3785
            From post #151 "Merely being in position below the center goal would not be sufficient to be considered blocking access. If the defensive robot then continued to push the offensive robot, keeping it away from being able to access the Center Goal, <GS18> penalties would apply." and #152 "The determination of blocking access would come when the red robot attempts to access the center goal."

            Question;Blue robot parks under/infront of red center goal and does not move. in this configuration, the red robot has a hard time reaching the the high red goal. Is this passive defence permitted? or is this blocking?

            a variation --the red robot pushes the blue robot who does not push back but the blue robot ultimately delays the red robot access to high center goal- would either of these be a blocking access penalty?

            A: If either scenario happens during the end game, the Blue robot should receive penalties based on <GS18> for blocking access to the red center goal


            • Autonomous Scoring Questions

              Originally posted by FTC7155
              In our autonomous (video below), we drive off of the ramp, on to the playing field floor, deposit our preloads into the middle sized goal, and bring the goal back on to the ramp (in order).

              We've calculated this to be worth 70 points (20 for driving off of the ramp, 30 for scoring an autonomous ball in a rolling goal, and 20 for moving a rolling goal into a parking zone).

              Several teams have commented on this video, suggesting that the ramp is not a parking zone, and therefore we should not receive the 20 points for moving a rolling goal.
              Additionally, the teams suggest that driving off of the ramp does not count as we end up back on the ramp at the end of autonomous.

              We were wondering if these two claims are accurate.

              -- video removed ---

              What may appear confusing in the video, is that we hook on to the middle sized goal at about 0:18.
              A1: The parking zone is the roughly 2' by 4' taped area of the floor along the center of the wall immediately in front of the driver station. For a rolling goal to score at the end of the autonomous period, the goal must be in the parking zone. The ramp and its surrounding keep out zone do not score.

              A2: For a robot to score for being partially off the ramp at the end of the autonomous period it must be in contact with the playing field floor. Robots that drive off and then back onto the ramp do not earn the autonomous bonus.


              • Gentle Defense

                Originally posted by FTC6287
                from post #152: "FIRST Tech Challenge is an interactive robot game. Some robot to robot contact should be expected, and should be designed for" . We were wondering then if during end game it seems to us to be permissible to "gently" push against the side or corner of a robot that is trying to score in the high goal. The defending robot is not blocking access-it is staying away from the area in front of the goal/center structure but it is pushing-not ramming-the robot that is attempting to score thus making the scoring process more challenging. Thanks

                A: There is nothing in the rules that would prohibit gentle defense, as long as no other rules are violated (i.e. blocking access, trapping/pinning, etc)


                • Robot Both Off Field and In Parking Zone?

                  Originally posted by FTC5913
                  While you are in the ramp can you extend an arm or something similar into the parking zone and score points for both? Because during one of our competitions our robot fell off of the ramp and a little bit of it was in the parking zone and it counted. So i was wondering if this is a way we can score in both or not.

                  A: A robot may only score as either off the field or in the parking zone, not both. When a robot (or a rolling goal) is eligible for more than 1 scoring option, the higher valued option will be chosen (i.e. in this case, the off the field option is worth 30 pts.)


                  • Center Goal Contact

                    Originally posted by FTC6981
                    At a recent event, our team was penalized for a part of our ball-dumping mechanism touching the center goal tube (actually the "backboard") during Autonomous and Tele-Op. We did graciously ask for verification and we were able to show a ref that in fact, touching the tube during autonomous was actually allowed. However, we are still in a quandary about whether or not its OK to simply "touch" the tube when we are in the process of dumping balls during tele-op. We have seen the definition about "grasping" where you encircle a majority of the tube with a mechanism. However, our team is now concerned that we not even allowed to come in any contact with the center tube or any other tube for that matter, while we are dumping balls. Our mechanism uses a brush to brush in the balls while we are driving around the floor. Then, we lift this mechanism in the air, and we turn the bristles to a position where they are horizontal, which then releases the balls into the tube. However, when we drive up the the center goal tube, these "bristles" touch the backboard of the center tube. We do not believe this is a penalty, however, we are asking for a clarification if one is available. It would certainly prevent a lot of re-design on our team's part. Thanks for all of you assistance!!!

                    Team 6981
                    Hortonville Robotics

                    A: If the referees deem the contact to be both incidental and inconsequential, they should not assess penalties. If they determine that the contact is either intentional or beneficial, appropriate penalties should be issued. In this situation, if the referees believe that the contact with the "bristles" is part of the alignment strategy, it would be appropriate for them to have given your team penalties based on the contact.


                    • Ball Scoring

                      Originally posted by FTC7197
                      We had a question regarding ball scoring that we think may have been addressed but we cannot locate the thread that references it. At a recent event, a team tilted the scoring tube so that the opening of the tube rested directly inline with the opening on the ball dispenser of the center element. We are wondering if that is a legal method of scoring. The tube never tips beyond the 90 degree limit but the balls never hit the floor and the rule book states that all balls must be scored from the floor.

                      Can a team tip a scoring tube to that ball falling out of the ball dispenser fall directly into it when the kickstand is removed (all of this is done during teleop).

                      A: No, a team may not do this. This is a direct violation of <GS2> and will be penalized as such (Double Minor per ball scored in this manner).
                      Last edited by Big Red Machine; 01-14-2015, 02:31 PM.


                      • Autonomous starting on the ramp

                        Originally posted by FTC4144
                        Looking through the game manual it states if the robot starts in the parking zone it must be touching the field perimeter. There is no mention the robot starting on the ramp has to touch the perimeter. So would it be legal to start anywhere on the ramp?

                        A: See answer #73 posted on 10/13/14. The robot on the platform does not have to be touching the perimeter (the parking zone one does).


                        • Autonomous Balls

                          Originally posted by FTC4486
                          Do teams need to use both preload balls (one large and one small) or can they preload just one.

                          This question has been listed as a duplicate but it does not seem to be in the forums.

                          A: Section 1.4.1 of the Part 2 of the Game Manual is very clear about the Autonomous Balls. "Each Team is given two (2) optional Autonomous Balls (one large and one small) that, if used ..." There is no requirement to use either Autonomous Ball. (i.e. teams may use none, either or both)


                          • Aggressive Robot Contact

                            Originally posted by FTC8645
                            How much aggressive defense is to be expected as teams move into higher levels of competition?

                            At yesterday's Qualifier, while we were lined up to score in the center goal during end game, one of the opposing alliance's robots began ramming us repeatedly to try to get us out of position. Because our robot is somewhat heavy, they had to keep backing up farther each time to get more momentum to ram us. The referee called a major penalty for them backing up far enough to cross into our parking zone, but did not call a penalty for the repeated ramming (because it was not "blocking"). Despite the ramming, we were able to successfully score, and the crowd cheered on our behalf.

                            Due to the repeated ramming, our lift was damaged (later repaired), but we will continue to be somewhat vulnerable when the lift is fully raised if repeated ramming is permitted in end game. In order to plan appropriately, what should be expected as falling within FTC's acceptable parameters for defense?

                            A: FIRST Tech Challenge is a highly interactive robotic sport, robot-to-robot contact should be expected and should be designed for. In general, <G9> could potentially apply, if the referees believed that the contact was part of a strategy aimed at destruction, damage or tipping of an opposing alliance robot. The application of <G9> is based on the observations of the referees observing the match.


                            • Intentional rotation of center goal

                              Originally posted by FTC4115
                              I was at a Wisconsin qualifier, and during the endgame of the final match, my team was going to score in the center goal. However, an opposing team rammed the center structure and rotated it, causing us to miss. We lost the match as a result due to not scoring in the center. No penalty was applied to either team. However, at a recent Ohio Qualifier my team attended, my team tried to move the center structure in similar fashion during tele-op so we could score more easily in endgame, and we were given a warning because the center goal moved from its original position. They said we could contact the center structure in order to dislodge stuck balls only, and if it moved from its original position, it would be a robot disable or disqualification. Is moving the center structure allowed or not?

                              A: Intentionally rotating the center goal would be considered field damage and fall under <G9>, and would lead to assessment of a Major Penalty and the possibility of being disabled and/or disqualified from the match, with repeated offenses potentially leading to tournament disqualification.


                              • Deflecting Balls

                                Originally posted by FTC3415
                                If a robot is actively deflecting balls that end up under the robot away from it, or reversing a zip tie collector mechanism to deflect balls while driving through the field, would this be considered a form of possession under <GS1>? The intent would be to repel additional balls (in no specific direction) and to prevent balls from becoming stuck under the robot, with no intention of collecting said balls.

                                A: The referees observing the match will make a judgement call based on their observations. They will assess the nature of the "control or lack of control" of the repelled balls and assess penalties as is appropriate. i.e. if they determine that the mechanism is being used to sweep balls into a corner to aid later pickup, the action would be considered a form of possession.