Nonsensical Q and A answers continued

For continuity

A few new Q&A answers came today and the follow up about traping against the low goal.


I find it interesting how “building an x-drive that can’t strafe over the barrier” is considered a reason why this isn’t trapping, but “building a tank drive that can’t strafe over the barrier” isn’t. Aren’t both of these things equally the fault of the team’s robot design? Why are the rules different based on an arbitrary robot design?

  1. The “calculated risk” described in Q&A 1265 only applies to potential Trapping against a Spin Up Barrier and does not extend to scenarios 2a-2d.
  1. The Spin Up Game Manual is not a Robot design guide, and it is not the GDC’s job to comprehensively identify design pros and cons. Each object and element on the Field presents a potential hazard for Robots that should be considered during game analysis and Robot design

These statements literally contradict each other. You don’t need to calculate getting stuck on the roller but you do need to calculate getting stuck on the barrier?


The biggest issue I have with these rulings is how the enforcement of the rules is dependent on the specific layout of the drive. The rules in the game manual should be applied equally to all robots, regardless of any design decisions. When you start enforcing rules differently based off of the design decisions of the robot, specific designs are either incentivized or discouraged. This particular ruling seems like it makes X drives a very poor choice, as x drives are traditionally not so great at climbing, so the average X drive probably has a hard time crossing the barrier. And on top of that, getting pinned as an X drive also doesn’t count as a pin, further hurting the merits of an X drive.


Another thing I noticed, why is H drive in a different category as x drive? Functionally, they operate on the exact same principal. And what would an asterisk drive classify as?

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@Illyana would you like to help me out here?


:woman_facepalming: Gosh, I should have made this season independent.



As a team who utilizes an X-drive this ruling in the Q&A is very frustrating to see. We like the X-drive because of its enhanced mobility (obviously). We were already considering moving to a straight drive in our next rebuild. This ruling is probably going to make this all the more likely.

When the GDC makes rulings like this it just stifles a diverse set of robots as everyone moves to a single design. We have been relatively successful with the X-drive, and it would be disappointing if all the robots become the same.

Also, in addition to being really poor at climbing because it is an x-drive. We also have pretty low parts of the robot to push discs out of the way so we don’t get stuck on them (which we don’t) or roll over them. Obviously getting stuck is bad, but it is extra important that we don’t roll over them because we utilize odometry with tracking wheels. While the tracking wheels are rubber banded to maintain contact with the floor when our robot is jolted and hit, if the tracking wheels get stuck on discs they are rendered useless. Therefore our robot needs to keep discs from, getting underneath it. But obviously now there is a pretty major flaw here. Being that is will be completely legal for a team to “pin” us against a low barrier for an entire match and receive no penalty, due to our inability to climb over the barrier. This “calculated design risk” that is fundamental to us performing in a match would mean it is legal for other teams to completely disable our robot for the duration of a match.

This strategy would be well worth it for the opposing alliance if we were the strongest bot on the field. This could often be the case during qualifications (South-East Michigan has a very wide range of robot skill). The only saving grace here is that it is unlikely that the teams who would benefit from this strategy would have read the rules. However that is no excuse for this very poor ruling on behalf of the GDC.

Edit: spelling


At both the tournaments we have gone to, they talked about this q and a in the drivers meeting

It probably depends on the tournament, but regardless, in my opinion this is inexcusable on behalf of the GDC. It sounds like a very hastily written ruling that was not given nearly any thought. The ramifications could be deep for this, and I don’t believe it was given enough thought.


I’m not in disagreement that it’s a poorly written rule. In my opinion, it should treat all drives the same as not being able to go over a barrier in any orientation is a design choice.

Just because your x-drive is not great at climbing doesn’t mean that x-drives in general are bad at climbing. A tank drive is susceptible to being pushed from the side and there are solutions to fix that. There are solutions to make x-drives better at climbing. There are drawbacks and improvements that can be made to both to improve their functionality.

So do many other robots with tank drives and mecanum drives. This makes it just as easy for a tank robot to get pinned against the low goal. Having extremely high clearance is an option that you could consider if you don’t want to get stuck.

Your robot is designed to use the odometry during match play, which is an inherent design risk that can and will be exploited by teams, just like every other weakness of any robot. Getting your tracking wheels stuck on disks is a design risk that your team made that can also be exploited by regular defense. Tracking wheels on any type of drive can get stuck on disks.

As a team that has faced being pinned an entire match (thanks 515R lol), and has used both low riding skirts and odometry tracking wheels, it seems like there are a couple issues with your robot that you could fix to get over the goal if you wanted to. With good positioning during the match, it shouldn’t be hard to avoid a pin. This ruling will not affect a very large majority of matches and I don’t think it’ll play out to be as much of a problem as people think. Although the ruling is poorly worded, it’s much better to weigh your design choices and design solutions to the problem.


You make a lot of really good points.

But, I guess this is where I disagree. If they were to do this it would just make pinning legal for any team that opts for low skirts on their bots (as most do), and for any team that uses a straight drive. This would mean the vast majority of robots could legally be pinned for an entire match. Currently, the problem is that X-drives are treated differently then straight drives which makes them harder to justify over straight drives. This is where the “poorly written” part that all of us seem to agree on comes from.

In my opinion if a robot is interacting with a robot on the other alliance such that it would be considered pinning on the wall, it should be considered pinning against the low goal barrier as well. It gets rid of ambiguity, while also allowing teams more freedom in their design choices (imo).

This is kind of true. We could opt for a different robot design, but this would mean that our tracking wheels would be largely ineffective, and our wheels would get stuck on discs a lot. In the end it comes down to (and I agree with) what you said:

But I guess I just don’t think this should be a design decision that we should have to be considering.

I also agree with what you say here. In the end I think it will alter how people play the game. People will probably spend a lot more time shooting at goals from the sides, versus from spaces where they could easily be pinned against the low goal. It will take some time to get used to, but hopefully as you suggest, it won’t be too much of a problem.


Alright, hear me out. Running no tank is still legal. The Q and A question reads,

We have teams that are wondering if we can put air pressure directly into the hose of the system and avoid the use for tanks. Since we are just using one shot of the pneumatics this seems like a good way to avoid unnecessary parts on the robot. Based off the red box it seems to be worded to avoid more than two tanks not to avoid the use of tanks. Thank You

The only part that is actually a question here is the following:

can put air pressure directly into the hose of the system and avoid the use for tanks[?]

The GDC responded:

Please review the Q&A Usage Guidelines before posting, specifically point 3, “Quote the applicable rule from the latest version of the manual in your question”. Rule R17’s “red box” reads as follows, with a portion bolded for emphasis: The intent of this rule is to limit Robots to the air pressure stored in two reservoir tanks, as well as the normal working air pressure contained in their pneumatic cylinders and tubing on the Robot. Teams may not use other elements for the purposes of storing or generating air pressure. Using cylinders or additional pneumatic tubing solely for additional storage is in Violation of the spirit of this rule.
No, this would not be legal.

The only relevant section of this is the following word. The rest is just fluff.


So we have the question: “can put air pressure directly into the hose of the system and avoid the use for tanks[?]”. The word of the use “and” implies that both actions have to be done in order for the rule to be violated. The word “or” would mean that only one of the conditions must be met. And the reply from the GDC is “no”.

So as long as you do not “put air pressure directly into the hose of the system”, you are not breaking the rule. By using a bike pump fitting, you don’t put the pressure directly into the “hose” of the system and thus aren’t violating the q and a.


I really doubt that you would be able to get this past inspection, the GDC’s intent here is pretty clear.


I’ve also been thinking about this a bit too.

For an endgame mechanism, I considered using a dead switch to separate the endgame mechanism from the rest of the pneumatic system, preserving the 100psi and keeping the endgame primed, regardless of the pressure of the rest of the system. It wouldn’t store any more air than the current setup but has a block preventing it from going throughout the rest of the system preventing leaks.

I’m not sure if this constitutes storing air with pneumatic tubing as it doesn’t have any more air than it would’ve had with the regular system. I don’t think it should but I thought I’d bring it up.


That is void as the GDC is literally pulling rules out of a hat. Their “quoted rule” is very much lawering on their part.

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Ok so when this Q&A droped I came up with an idea. I keep it to myself bc its really stupid but ig we are here now.

The relevent statment

There is nothing about pumping out air. You can have as much tubing storing the abstance of air as you would like. Now I don’t know if this could generate enough force to do anything, but this is clearly outlined to only apply to storing or generating air

I agree with @VexTeamZ that you are rules lawyering, but all the power too you.


I feel like in every scenario in which you use the absence of air, you want as little tubing in the system as possible. (and may rebuild may use a system that relies on this to work).


If your argument relies on the precise meaning of a coordinating conjunction you are already making some sort of mistake.


Let’s go. GDC fixed their braindead ruling: