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Jeff L
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PostSubject: National-Level Competitions   Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:33 pm

From what I've seen written here - and from what I experienced some of when I competed in BotsIQ - the establishment of a true National competition is unlikely in the near-term. This thread is meant to be a discussion about what would need to happen for one to actually occur.

From my point of view, there are several main hurdles:

1. Nonuniform Rules:
Currently, there are at least two primary sets of rules for competitions in the US, NRL and Battlebots/BotsIQ. They line up fairly well for the most part, but a few key differences have arisen in the past few years (like the lipo ban in NRL rules, and the varying opinions of what is needed to demonstrate "controlled movement"). For an overarching National competition to occur, a single unified set of rules and regulations would need to be adopted.

2. Location:
Most combat robotics teams are based in a few tightly packed clusters of schools which are far from any other clusters of teams (ie, New England & South Florida). So, when any one of these groups decides to have a large competition, virtually all of the other teams will have to spend a large amount of money to simply GET TO the competition. This needs to be solved somehow to increase event attendance from teams not from the immediate area. After all, it's not exactly a national competition if the competitors are from 1-3 states.

3. Timing:
A national competition should occur at almost EXACTLY the same time each year to allow for proper planning for all parties involved (both event organizers and competitors). Also, there should not be two "dueling" major competitions running at the same time, or even too closely together in the same weight classes (one competition will grab the other's attendees).

My opinions on how to fix these:
1. Rules and Technical Regulations should keep up with advances made in the robots competing. This means if certain components have become commonplace *COUGH*LIPOs*COUGH*, it is not appropriate to ban them if they are not markedly more dangerous than some other component that previously existed *COUGH*LI-IONs*COUGH*. The rules should also ensure matches run smoothly with as little interruption as possible (there should be as few stops in the action as is possible). A decision should also be made concerning Mini vs Hobbyweight classes (Hobbyweights have the longer standing history, but Mini's actually fit into the existing weight paradigm of 120-60-30[-15])

2 & 3. Since most competitions are set up to be run in a regional format anyways, I would say that they should be established by name as such. However, that's not a National competition. For that, I would suggest an event held once every two years that either switches location (North-South-West) or is held at some place within a 24 hour's drive/3 hour flight of the majority of competitors. As a side note, I believe one of the early BattlebotsIQ competitions was held in Minnesota; in that vein, a possible location for a static (single-location) National Competition is St. Louis, which is basically a 3-hour flight from the edges of the country. However, it may be easier in a logistical sense to hold the competition in a different region each year. As far as timing goes, April never seems to be a big month competition-wise, and fits fairly well in terms of the school year.

my $0.02

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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:49 pm

I agree that the true national event should change from region to region each year. I also feel that the head of the the event organization change eacch year.
Nola is from miami which is why she prefers to have the event there.
When trey and greg were involved they preferred to have it in Cali where they are based with thier arena.

Although its a bit immature when teams have bad experiences at a comp they ultimatley blame it on the organizer, changing organizers on a yearly basis would eliminate any grudges. I don't know how practical it is but if you are attempting to change the location its better to have the locals do it.

And competitions should double as planning meetings for the next year,to have all the attending mentors and teams involved rather than a select group making all decisions!

Nola Told us at last years competition that the competition this year would be in february and in MIAMI. This was her way of showing everyone that BotsIQ is capable of being organized. But I feel this really turned the few out of staters that were there away because they had no say...
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:31 pm

my $.02
Miami should just fall to a regional competition, kick back some of the tremendous fee's to the winner of the competition to help send them to the NRL competition. I dont see botsiq as an organization anymore, lets all face it its just a name, there is no support or backing to botsiq, unlike the NRL.
Lipo ban was never a problem till botsiq decided to allow them. NRL allowed them and decided to not allow them again, thats not an action that would be taken if there wasnt a good reason. We all know how much safer li-ions are.
After attending the NRL national this past summer I completly support our advisers decesion to not attend "BotsIQ, Bots Worldwide, Battlebots" competitions anymore....
If your were given money to attend one competition over the other which would you choose?!

Not only do I feel like the NRL competition is much more organized, better run, a better location, but the level of competition was MUCH higher.

NRL shouldnt have said the date would be announced, but i would take a really good guess at a late may early june competition pretty centrally located as jeff had mentioned.

I went to a different source then all of you and got a reply within minutes. I dont feel like its my place to give details as they arent final but you will all know with around 4 months notice. Nothing is set in completly set in stone yet which is why an anouncment has not been made. Sure critisize them for giving a little false hope. Do the scheduling issues with BotsIQs need to be reminded?

I don't really see a controversy of a national event. There is one with a 15lb class of 20 bots from miami and one with the winners of regional competitions from massachutes, 2 competitions in pennsylvania, ohio, minnesota, wisconsin and arizona among other bots from around the country. Isnt that what a national competition is?!!
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:42 am

Cody wrote:
my $.02


I went to a different source then all of you and got a reply within minutes. I dont feel like its my place to give details as they arent final but you will all know with around 4 months notice. Nothing is set in completly set in stone yet which is why an anouncment has not been made. Sure critisize them for giving a little false hope. Do the scheduling issues with BotsIQs need to be reminded?

I don't really see a controversy of a national event. There is one with a 15lb class of 20 bots from miami and one with the winners of regional competitions from massachutes, 2 competitions in pennsylvania, ohio, minnesota, wisconsin and arizona among other bots from around the country. Isnt that what a national competition is?!!

How many bots were there at the past couple NRL nationals? Is it only open to the regional competition winners or may anyone register?

If you can't spill the details, can you atleast tell us your source so we can ask ourselves. I realize its too early for anything set in stone, it would just be nice to have a general Idea
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:53 pm

Anyone can enter.

You could just wait till everythings set and stone and is announce. I was told another week or two till everything gets ironed out.
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:03 am

After discussing this with some people I know who've competed in FIRST, I can boil down what I'm getting at in a different way: in combat robotics, right now there is no such thing as a National Championship. Plenty of events fit the definition of National-level competitions: they are open to competitors from any state and are sufficiently advertised that said competitors hear about them. However, there is no one competition that all of these teams can attend to determine an actual National Champion.

I also discussed the merits of technical regulations and restrictions with them. What we agreed on was that one of the largest single differences between combat robotics and other competitions is a lack of restrictions on what you are allowed to use to make a robot. To me, I see component bans like the current lipo ban as astonishingly silly. After all, virtually every one of us runs around with one practically held to our crotch day in and day out [modern cell phone batteries are predominantly lipos] with no thought toward possible burns or explosions. In addition, the smoke issue from burning electronics is one that was already solved in the larger arenas and should not have been overlooked in the design of the small arenas. The proper ventilation ports, ducting and fans would not add excessive cost to or weaken the structural integrity of a hobbyweight or mini arena.

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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:37 am

Jeff L wrote:
After discussing this with some people I know who've competed in FIRST, I can boil down what I'm getting at in a different way: in combat robotics, right now there is no such thing as a National Championship. Plenty of events fit the definition of National-level competitions: they are open to competitors from any state and are sufficiently advertised that said competitors hear about them. However, there is no one competition that all of these teams can attend to determine an actual National Champion.

I also discussed the merits of technical regulations and restrictions with them. What we agreed on was that one of the largest single differences between combat robotics and other competitions is a lack of restrictions on what you are allowed to use to make a robot. To me, I see component bans like the current lipo ban as astonishingly silly. After all, virtually every one of us runs around with one practically held to our crotch day in and day out [modern cell phone batteries are predominantly lipos] with no thought toward possible burns or explosions. In addition, the smoke issue from burning electronics is one that was already solved in the larger arenas and should not have been overlooked in the design of the small arenas. The proper ventilation ports, ducting and fans would not add excessive cost to or weaken the structural integrity of a hobbyweight or mini arena.

Why cannot all teams attend the NRL national competition?! It comes down to teams cannot afford to travel. Not every team can attend first nationals, does that make it just another competition? To me when a team doesnt have the money to travel it just sounds like a lack of commitment to the sport. Theres always fundraising. I've never heard of any Miami teams trying to do any kind of fundraising(selling chocolate covered pretzels, pies, etc) to make it to another competition. The national competition has been brought to you for how many years and now you guys are complaining cause of what its turning into.
Some phones do use Lipo batteries, mine and a majority are still li ion. When you start carrying around a 6 cell lipo in your pocket let me know. Cell phones dont use nearly the power these bots do. How many of these teams dont even know they can only run one BEC to a reciever and you want to let them use batteries that can be that harmful? Especially when Liions are how many more times safer?
It there was fans or ducting in these arenas I could see Lipos being considered but with events being held in malls and other public places its not as feesible.
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:10 am

I thought fluffy on fire displayed the danger of lipo's pretty well.

And although there is no defined kit of parts, I feel like most teams use the same stuff anyways: Banebots Motors and ESC's, Magmotors, IFI ESCs, Colsons. People tend to use what everyone else is using just because there aren't too many options.

Other than the battery issue, I am pretty sure any BBIQ robot will qualify for NRL.

And I thought Lipo's and Liions were practically almost the same weight, would it really be that difficult to switch? Quite frankly the money most teams would save by switching to NRL alone could cover the cost of a few new packs. Granted Travel may become an issue, but we have all had that same issue
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:52 am

Cody wrote:
Why cannot all teams attend the NRL national competition?! It comes down to teams cannot afford to travel. . . . To me when a team doesnt have the money to travel it just sounds like a lack of commitment to the sport. Theres always fundraising. I've never heard of any Miami teams trying to do any kind of fundraising(selling chocolate covered pretzels, pies, etc) to make it to another competition. The national competition has been brought to you for how many years and now you guys are complaining cause of what its turning into. . . .

Here I must agree with Cody. (well, with some minor exceptions--see next paragraph) BotsIQ teams in Miami HAVE had it easy for something like 5 of the past 7 years. And this is no small advantage--flights aren't cheap, one could easily spend as much on a flight as on a 15lb. wedge robot alone. And shipping a 120 is a significant expense as well. It is for this reason that a competition that rotates through various parts of the country would be good. But then an organizer's difficulty arises--it is exceptionally expensive to move the big arenas, and difficult to organize an event from another state, especially for things like securing venues and getting labor to setup, run and takedown. (It's too bad BotsIQ and NRL cant be parts of the same organization--that would simplify things greatly)

Where I disagree with Cody is on the "you guys are complaining cause of what its turning into," because I'm not the one complaining at all. I am disappointed that there aren't more battlebots entered, but I am convinced that setting a date and time early and sticking to it will eventually eliminate that problem. I do find it a bit silly that it's called Nationals, when it clearly doesn't have the entries to justify that term, but what's in a name, really? And most Miami teams do at least some fundraising. There certainly are things that annoy me (not about BotsIQ, necessarily), and I have expressed them elsewhere, but that is not what this thread is about.

There is one solution (dare I suggest it?)--a grassroots one. We (the teams that use this forum regularly) agree to ALL attend one of the major springtime events next year. (we are all in too deep to make it for this year) We make this decision NOW and stick to it. Then, for the following year, we all agree on another event. Are we serious about this? Can we make that sort of committment? I would really like to make a go at NRL. But, I must know quite some time in advance where, when, and how much, and it cant conflict with BotsIQ (simply because I do feel obligated to attend one that's in my backyard), nor can it conflict with AP or IB testing. I am pretty sure that BotsIQ is going to continue to occur in late Feb for the next several years, so I suspect the 'conflict' issue should no longer be a problem.

If the people with the robots can unite, then the people with the arenas will have to comply. (NOTE: I am not saying to boycott one event--quite the opposite--I'm just saying to put one on the MUST list)
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:49 pm

Perhaps the NRL should target some of the Miami schools....at this point no one know anything about their 'national' event.

Teams need to know WELL in advance that an actual event is going to be held, when, where and all of the details.

Is there any news about this?

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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:57 pm



Us the builders need to build robots. I'm talking to you Jeff and company who are constantly building but don't compete. Bite the bullet and get it done! You must compete!

Possible shift in popular weight classes.

Here in Miami we decided that ants and beetles can help in building a sustainable builder culture. SOooo we took initiative and built our own pretty nice arena. RJW was kind enough to supply some stainless for the floor, just another example of good builder culture. The entire arena fits in the back of a small pickup and can be setup by two people in a few hours. An entire event can happen inside of a large classroom or backyard. We've also been at many of the local events here to run demos to increase interest and awareness in the much more affordable and logistically simpler small robots. We plan on having events with low registration costs per robot . Similar to the GCRS events. The events would follow the RFL ruleset.

There are organizations that have the resources to fund a few 15lb BotsIQ type robots but for the same money they could have a class of 20 students with each pair of students having their own unique robot. 10 robots, more students involved, more kids brought into the light of engineering and manufacturing. Everybody wins.

For about the price of a modern 15lber you can build a 1lb robot arena.

The goal of this is to increase raw builder numbers. My heart and soul is and always will be with big robots, 120lb especially. If the robot combat community dies then 120lb combat dies also.

The reason there is not a national event, is because there is no need for a national event. There are builders in certain areas each with their own unrelated organizations that hold events. The actions we're taking right now in Miami mimic those of the RFL more than NRL or BotsIQ. Whenever the RFL regional competitions became strong there was a need for a national event thus the RFL Nationals occurred. To support a national competition you need to build many strong regional competitions all under the same flag.
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Since I joined this forum, I haven't seen 1 single robot that Jeff completed??? Lots of threats, but still only vapor....sorry Jeff....If I'm wrong, please let us know

I like the idea of an educational insect event...along with the rest of us....could be a really great way to rebuild this .....and we could have events quite often....

I'd like to get a list of how many current insect weight bots and buiilders would actually come to a Miami held event?




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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:30 am

I will put my 2 cents in on this but just briefly....

Without regional competitions being held under 1 sanctioning body, Nothing will ever grow and be done or influence growth...

If there are different rules for different events then it will not work...

I agree totally with a traveling national held by the same sanctioning body...

If arenas are different then so be it, as long as the rules are the same...

Each region would see what other regions battle under...

The weight class could be brought down to insects and things would grow tremendously...

Not only for the cost reasons mentioned but also for the machinability factor that some educational institutions have and have not...

Plastic is safer and easier to machine...

I do know this is our last year building new 15 pounders...

Everything from here out will be lightweight...

More competitions and closer competitions..

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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:25 pm

agreed, but how does one go about unifying these two bodies?

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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:36 pm

I really like the idea of having standard parts

Unifying it doesnt look like it will be the answer to me. The only reason the NRL was started is because of Nolas parting with the NTMA and SWPA,NWPA, OH, MA,AZ WI, MN have all followed. I think miami is going to have to go to the NRL if anything happens. I wouldnt go somewhere that didnt want me.
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:26 pm

there is a cap 25 volts which we run at you cant put a limitations like that which would screw over certain teams. we run with 7 cell a123s too
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:39 pm

if there was a standard volatge to run with set componets it would make it much more of a design challenge then spinning a 7 in beater as fast as you possibly can
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:22 pm

battlebots/IQ had an sportsmanship type class for the san fran "nationals" in 09
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:33 pm

did they actually have it with the poor turnout?
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:34 pm

Alex,

AreyousayingthatyoudontlikethewaythatItypeonherebecauseIjustthoughtthatitwouldbeeasiertoreadifI
putspacesbetweenallofmyrandomthoughtsbutifyouwantmetochangethewayIpostIcandothatwithoutapr
oblem.Maybetypingthiswaymightjustsavemorebytestransferringbackandforthbetweenallofourcomputer
s.Anyway,Ithoughtthatyouhadsomegoodideastherewiththewaywecouldusestandardizedpartsandletthed
esigntakeoverfromthere.Itwouldmakegoodsenseandwouldallowkidstorealizethedifferencesbetweengearr
atiosandpulleysystems.Also,thecaponvoltagesisreallyagreatideathatIneverreallythoughtoflimiting.Thisw
ouldcreatesomegreateducationonthenewtonlawrealm.IjustmighthavetogetyouinonthenewcompetitionI
amtryingtogetgoingwithsomeoftheprogrammedbattles.Goodideasthoughkeepthemcoming!


;-)

FRISCO


Last edited by Frisco on Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Cody
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:30 pm

thats was suprinsingly not that bad to read haha
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:54 pm

The technical regulation from both the nrl and Bots IQ have a voltage limit of 24 volts, So I think thats the standard voltage.

IDK if I agree with limiting the damage/power, if something doesn't have the potential to hit the roof, its not really battlebots.

Sure its more on the educational side, but it isn't quite as awesome to watch. And the awesome factor is what draws kids attention.

Sure peoples robots don't get wrecked, but the wreckage is half the fun. Speaking from the Point of view of the teams that get chewed up alot.

We get to see what was wrong, and then build a better one for next time
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:05 pm

jeeves_m_d wrote:
The technical regulation from both the nrl and Bots IQ have a voltage limit of 24 volts, So I think thats the standard voltage.

IDK if I agree with limiting the damage/power, if something doesn't have the potential to hit the roof, its not really battlebots.

Sure its more on the educational side, but it isn't quite as awesome to watch. And the awesome factor is what draws kids attention.

Sure peoples robots don't get wrecked, but the wreckage is half the fun. Speaking from the Point of view of the teams that get chewed up alot.

We get to see what was wrong, and then build a better one for next time

Its even more ironic cause we're one of the teams that bounces them off the roof. Yes there is a voltage limit but standard componets would
make this program design dependent and more competitive.
I dont see it ever happening but I think it would improve the program.
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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:43 pm

rjw wrote:
Since I joined this forum, I haven't seen 1 single robot that Jeff completed??? Lots of threats, but still only vapor....sorry Jeff....If I'm wrong, please let us know

I like the idea of an educational insect event...along with the rest of us....could be a really great way to rebuild this .....and we could have events quite often....

I'd like to get a list of how many current insect weight bots and buiilders would actually come to a Miami held event?




100% agree on the idea to lower weight classes in educational divisions. Not only would materials get cheaper, but schools with no machine access would be able to order out good parts for an affordable price. (Not to mention how much easier it is to transport little robots)

Spoilered because it would probably derail the thread otherwise:


Spoiler:
 

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PostSubject: Re: National-Level Competitions   Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:09 am

This is the reasoning that most teams used when they switched from building 120's to 15's. If people continue downsizing, where does it stop?

Also if the fix for nationals is to have nola work out her issues with the NRL/NTMA has any one talked to her about this. Maybe a teacher from down there should ask where she stands on the issue, perhaps dubard could mention the idea to her?
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