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Official Q&A: VRC 2023-2024: Over Under

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Where do Offensive Zones end under the elevation bars?


John Holbrook (Event Partner)
23-Jan-2024

Offensive Zone – One of two halves of the field, divided by the Barrier. See Figure 20.

  • Each Alliance has an Offensive Zone. An Alliance’s Offensive Zone is on the side furthest from their Alliance Station and closest to that Alliance’s colored Goal.
  • Each Offensive Zone consists of the gray foam tiles on one side of the Barrier. It is not a 3-dimensional volume.
  • The Long Barrier is not considered to be in either Offensive Zone.
  • The Match Load Zones are not considered to be part of either Offensive Zone.

I can see two possible interpretations of the second bullet point in the definition of “Offensive Zone”:

  1. Each Offensive Zone consists of the portions of the foam tiles on one side of the Barrier. (See attachment A)
  2. Each Offensive Zone consists of the entirety of any foam tiles partially or completely on one side of the barrier. (See attachment B)

The difference between these two interpretations lies under the horizontal elevation bars. Under interpretation 1, there is a strip of foam directly below the bar not in either Offensive Zone. Under interpretation 2, the two offensive zones share a border under the bar, following the shape of the foam tiles’ interlocking tabs. Figure 20 seems to support interpretation 1, however text takes precedence over figures, and I have seen interpretation 2 enforced at some events.

This difference is particularly important when enforcing rule SG9. If a robot ends the autonomous period contacting the region under the bar where tiles interlock, it can be very difficult to determine whether the robot is contacting the tile on the other side of the barrier – doubly so if the robot only briefly contacts this area and then drives away. In contrast, it is much easier to visually determine whether a robot contacts the foam past the far edge of the barrier.

Additionally, interpretation 1 makes it clear that the triballs starting under the two elevation bars are not scored in either offensive zone at the beginning of the match (and therefore are legal to contact during autonomous). Under interpretation 2, the status of these triballs is somewhat ambiguous, as raised in the recent Q&As 1884 and 1885.

Which of these two interpretations of the definition of “Offensive Zone” is correct?

Thanks for your time!

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Answered by committee
7-Feb-2024

Interpretation 2 is correct.

Generally speaking, when a rule refers to "the foam tiles" as a boundary, it is intended to be taken literally, i.e. following the shape of the interlocking tabs. This is done so that Head Referees can easily "paper test" close calls if needed.