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Thread: Ranking Points

  1. #1
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    Ranking Points

    Does the scoring system of qualifying points and ranking points seem broken to anybody else? I like the qualifying points because it makes sense to have team rankings primarily based on match wins and losses. However, I think that a better tie-breaker is needed than ranking points. I understand the purpose behind ranking points: they are supposed to show the strength of the competition you beat. However, they have a major flaw: they don't necessarily reflect on the strength of your team. Just because the teams that you beat were low scorers, that doesn't mean that you can't also beat higher scoring teams. Furthermore, the amount of scoring that occurs in a match is not the best indicator of how good the teams involved in that match were. I believe that teams who win low-scoring and high-defense matches can be just as good as teams who win high-scoring and low-defense matches.

    But, enough about my views. What do other people think? Do you like the scoring system that FTC uses or would you like to see some kind of change?
    Burning Lights Programming
    FLL Team 341 Brick Chick'N Boys - Programmer (2009-2010)
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    FLL Team 5028 Fellowship of the Brick - Youth Mentor (2011-2012)
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  2. #2
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    There is no combination of metrics that can perfectly rank teams. If you look at FRC, though the event uses a similar ranking system to FTC, there are a variety of metrics that teams have invented to rank teams. A quick look through Chief Delphi will show a lot of different ways to measure the offensive and/or defensive efficacy of a team. As a scout, one should look at all of these metrics, and combine them in a way you see fit to judge teams.

    The purpose of Ranking Points (I believe) is to encourage even matches that do not involve simply crushing your opponent. In previous years, it was advisable to score for your opponent(if you knew you were going to win) to increase your own RPs.
    Max Bareiss

    FTC #248 Fatal Error (2009-2013)
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    ISR 12: Umptysquatch 6
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinkworks View Post
    In previous years, it was advisable to score for your opponent(if you knew you were going to win) to increase your own RPs.
    That may be, but it doesn't jive with the way the rules were set up last year; the only way you could score for your opponent was to push any of their rings that were loose on the floor onto the center floor goal. Furthermore, I don't see anything wrong with blow out matches. I think a match where you blow away your opponent says more about how good your team is than a match where you artificially inflate their score by scoring for them.

    The primary issue that I have with ranking points is that it doesn't give a specific idea of how many points you can score, unless you lose every match. Instead, it shows that over the course of the day, you have scored at least x number of points. You could have scored that amount exactly, or you could have scored twice as many. You simply don't know what a team is capable of doing by the Ranking Points number.
    Burning Lights Programming
    FLL Team 341 Brick Chick'N Boys - Programmer (2009-2010)
    FLL Team 263 Brainy Bricks - Programmer (2010-2011)
    FLL Team 5028 Fellowship of the Brick - Youth Mentor (2011-2012)
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    FTC Team 7468 Blue Chariots of Fire - Programmer (2013-2014)
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTC Ringer View Post
    That may be, but it doesn't jive with the way the rules were set up last year
    The FTC game hasn't been set up this way in a number of years. I don't know why; could anyone from FIRST chime in?

    Quote Originally Posted by FTC Ringer View Post
    I think a match where you blow away your opponent says more about how good your team is than a match where you artificially inflate their score by scoring for them.
    Hmm, I would perk my ears up if I was a scout and heard the announcer say "now look at team xxxx scoring for their opponent!" It shows that you are so confident in gaining 2 QPs that you can focus on gaining as many RPs as possible.
    Max Bareiss

    FTC #248 Fatal Error (2009-2013)
    FRC #3142 Aperture (2009-2012)
    FRC #1302 Team Lionheart (2012-2013)
    ZRHS #89 Team Kühlschrank (2011-2013)
    ZRAC #40 Catcher in the Skye (2012)
    ISR 12: Umptysquatch 6
    Rowan University Baja SAE

    And mentoring for life.
    --
    11 seasons of FIRST in 6 years, as a student. Many more as a mentor.

  5. #5
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    This year we can actually score for our opponents, though. But it'd be more risky, since it's illegal during the entire 30 seconds of end game, and the other team still has a chance to (double?) climb.
    Lead programmer for FTC team #6424, the 'Oly Cow.
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  6. #6
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    There are two words that are the mainstay of FTC that definitively explain why high RP's are so important (and should be sought after). This is also why the game rules have evolved and been honed over the years to honor the expertise and technological sophistication of the robots FTC teams are bringing to the field:

    Gracious Professionalism

    Beat the other alliance on your own merits, not by preventing them from accomplishing what they have spent an entire season trying to achieve. Last year's challenge allowed you to thwart your opponent by stealing their peg. It was a challenging strategic game that escaped far too many teams. I will say that this year's challenge is much more straight forward. I look forward to seeing how it plays out. GOOD LUCK TO ALL TEAMS!

    Teams with a high GPA (Gracious Professionalism Attitude) will typically earn the highest RP. Watch for it.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=FTC5666;7753]Beat the other alliance on your own merits, not by preventing them from accomplishing what they have spent an entire season trying to achieve.QUOTE]

    With all due respect, I believe that defense is a perfectly legitimate strategy in FTC. Indeed, smart and well executed defense can go a long way towards winning shootout matches. Consider Game Manual Part 2 <G9>: "FTC Games are highly interactive and Robot-to-Robot contact and defensive Game play should be expected." (emphasis added) If the GDC warns teams that defensive gameplay should be expected, then that probably means they support it as a legitimate strategy. Now granted, they obviously don't want teams to play unfettered defense because of the trapping, pinning, and end-game rules. But on the whole, the way the rules are written restricts defense to reasonable levels, while still making it an allowed part of the game.

    As to ranking points, the number of ranking points you get is primarily determined by your opponents. Even if you score blocks for them, you can't do anything for their end-game score and autonomous score, which could be the majority of the points scored in many matches. If you balance their pendulum for them, but in the last 30 seconds they unbalance it, there is nothing you can do about that. Furthermore, you cannot raise their flag more them, and you most certainly cannot hang their robots for them. The main point is, the number of ranking points you get is usually determined by a random lottery of the teams you happen to face during the day. And as FTC continues to grow and the number of teams at each competition expands, the sample size of the teams that you face decreases. Ranking points simply involve too many variables that are outside of your control. I think a system involving the score of your alliance would be a better measure, which, while also having variables outside of your control, has the main variable of what YOU can do.
    Burning Lights Programming
    FLL Team 341 Brick Chick'N Boys - Programmer (2009-2010)
    FLL Team 263 Brainy Bricks - Programmer (2010-2011)
    FLL Team 5028 Fellowship of the Brick - Youth Mentor (2011-2012)
    FTC Team 6100 Chariots of Fire - Programmer (2012-2013)
    FTC Team 7468 Blue Chariots of Fire - Programmer (2013-2014)
    FTC Team 7468 Blue Chariots of Fire - Mentor (2014-2015)
    Check out our team website at http://bluechariotsoffire.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTC Ringer View Post
    Even if you score blocks for them, you can't do anything for their end-game score and autonomous score, which could be the majority of the points scored in many matches. If you balance their pendulum for them, but in the last 30 seconds they unbalance it, there is nothing you can do about that. Furthermore, you cannot raise their flag for them, and you most certainly cannot hang their robots for them.
    Another point to bring up: It is completely possible that if an alliance is losing really badly (and has no chance of winning), they could intentionally "not score", by not raising the flag when they could, or not hanging, or unbalancing their pendulum. Which certainly is neither gracious nor professional, if the motivation to score points is so. I mean, you'd essentially be scoring points for the other team by continuing to score points for yourself.
    Last edited by Ernest314; 11-03-2013 at 04:40 PM. Reason: grammar
    Lead programmer for FTC team #6424, the 'Oly Cow.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest314 View Post
    Another point to bring up: It is completely possible that if an alliance is losing really badly (and has no chance of winning), they could intentionally "not score", by not raising the flag when they could, or not hanging, or unbalancing their pendulum. Which certainly is neither gracious nor professional, if the motivation to score points is so. I mean, you'd essentially be scoring points for the other team by continuing to score points for yourself.
    An excellent point. This could potentially come into play with teams that have sister-teams. Picture this situation: Sister-team A is fighting for a spot in the top four with Team X. Both of these teams have equal ranking points. Sister-team B is way down in the rankings, with no mathematical possibility that they could get in the top four. Sister-team B goes against Team X. About halfway through the match, it becomes clear that the alliance that Sister-team B is on cannot beat the alliance with Team X. So, sister-team B proceeds to do everything they can to keep their alliance's score low, thus lowering the ranking points of Team X and giving Sister-team A a better shot at a spot in the top four. This is most definitely neither gracious nor professional, but it is still a very real possibility.
    Burning Lights Programming
    FLL Team 341 Brick Chick'N Boys - Programmer (2009-2010)
    FLL Team 263 Brainy Bricks - Programmer (2010-2011)
    FLL Team 5028 Fellowship of the Brick - Youth Mentor (2011-2012)
    FTC Team 6100 Chariots of Fire - Programmer (2012-2013)
    FTC Team 7468 Blue Chariots of Fire - Programmer (2013-2014)
    FTC Team 7468 Blue Chariots of Fire - Mentor (2014-2015)
    Check out our team website at http://bluechariotsoffire.com/

  10. #10
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    Smile been talking about this for years

    Over the years ... I have been involved in many discussions about RP with many people.

    The critical time where RP matters is figuring out which teams will become alliance captains and what order they will get to select alliance partners.

    My personal opinion is that the losing alliance should get the lower score as RP, and the winning alliance should get the average of the higher and lower score. This gets a bit more twisted this season due to the way penalties work.

    For a tie, both alliances should get the lower pre-penalized score as RP, which is exactly what happens.

    When it is not a tie, there is a chance that the winning alliance might have a lower pre-penalized score than the losing alliance. The scoring system follows what the rules dictate, which is that all teams receive the losing alliance's pre-penalized score. In my opinion this would be better if all teams receive the lower pre-penalized score. Whatever.

    A much better approach would be like this:
    For a tie, all teams should get the lower pre-penalized score, which is the same as what happens now.
    When it is not a tie, the losing alliance should get the lower pre-penalized score, and the winning alliance should get the average of the lower pre-penalized score and their own pre-penalized score. In the case where the winning alliance actually had the lower pre-penalized score, they would get the same RP as the losing alliance. In the case where the winning alliance had a higher pre-penalized score, they would get the average.

    In cases where there are no penalties, the RP is much easier to understand.

    My favorite way to illustrate the problem with the current RP approach is to imagine two robots. Robot A wins every match by a score of 20 to 10. Robot B wins every match by a score of 200 to 0. Assuming these are the only undefeated teams, at the end of the day Robot A will be ranked higher and will get first pick of alliance partners. Somehow this doesn't seem like the best approach. Ask anyone in the audience which is the stronger robot, and they will all point to the robot that scores consistently high all day long.

    The current RP model only takes into consideration the strength/performance of the losing alliance.

    In my opinion it would be better to also consider the strength/performance of the robot itself, meaning that any time a robot is on the winning alliance it would gain RP which averages the losing alliance and the winning alliance. Just saying.

    At least this year it is easy to score for the other alliance, which mitigates the issue somewhat. Last year it was extremely difficult to score for the other alliance. This varies from year to year.

    I think I understand the idea of why RP works the way it does ... but imagine how much better RP could be if a consistently high-scoring robot could gain some RP based partly on its own scoring ability and not just the scoring ability of random opponents.

    Years ago during my first season of FTC I saw a robot shoot a few balls into the other color basket (Hot Shot). At the time it just seemed strange. Eventually I understood why they did it. Even now I still think that a game where it makes sense to score for the other side is a strange game.

    Robotics is great. FTC is great. The RP calculation is good but could be better. In my opinion.

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