RoboCup 2021: Rule and roadmap discussion - Meeting Minutes

Rule and roadmap discussion meeting – 26/06/2021

(a) How to proceed with the Virtual Competition?

What are team’s opinion about:

(i) Having this as a technical challenge

(ii) As a sub-league during regular tournaments (potentially joined with 3D Sim)

(iii) Running this again, separately from the RoboCup world championship

(a) as an intermediate competition in late autumn or spring (teams would need to pay for participation to cover infrastructure costs, but would likely be something like 100 - 150 USD per team)

(b) as a championship over the whole year (require significant setup, technically and logistically)

(iv) including parts of it (like standing up motions, showing game play etc) as a mandatory qualification step for the real tournament

    Q: Was it not just thought for one year?
    A: there was a lot in infrastructure invested. The road forward is unclear, but the Trustees would like to be sure that Humanoid still has the focus on hardware league

Ideas for when having the virtual competition:

   -  Off Season league: see how other teams are doing. Bring the league forward in terms of behaviour and other topics that can be tested good in the simulator
   -  Having them bi-weekly. one or two months earlier or starting in autumn
   -  Having simulation at same time as real life: teams probably have time for both, teams would probably just run the same docker image, so no benefit of having virtual competitions
   -  Virtual event might be better chance for new teams to come into the league

Costs and sponsorships:

    - Having logos on the side of the stadium from sponsors to finance it
    - Financially easier to estimate than a championship


    - After this competition started it was quite impossibly to fix bugs in the infrastructure, bi-weekly events would make that easier between rounds
    - Include more people outside TC and OC to improve the competition in the different aspects and the development, e.g. of the autoreferee. Teams would like to help, but it is not possible to do it during the competition, because there was no time for them either.

Ideas for future uses of the virtual competition:

    - Use also the virtual environment for testing abilities of teams of competing for the hardware championship
    - We could also have drop-in games in the virtual competition. They would be also very interesting for research purposes in multi-agents systems.

Robot models:

    Q: Shall we ask teams to simplify their models?
    A: Teams put a lot of effort in preparing realistic models: we want to have realistic motion

    - We also still want validation of the model, in particular on the aspects that affect the run-time speed. But it is important encouraging teams to have realistic models
    - More models and dockers on the website

(b) What are considered the most important updates to the simulator that would help with certain research directions?

(not bug fixes, enhancements)

  • changing light sources (random at every game start, or even changing within a game)

  • changing ball textures (random at every game start)

  • modelling energy consumption of robots

  • reducing time step

  • randomizing slightly initial positioning of robots (penalty shootout etc)


    - Change the image surrounding the field.
    - Vary also the intensity of the light
    - Have noise on the camera images
    - Motion blur, if it's not too hard to compute, might be a bit costly
    - Ground is super smooth, introduce random unevenness, could even be scaled up during the tournament
    - Adding more sensors (with realistic noise): having a list of the values for such sensors to be shared among the teams
    - GAN datasets/architecture using transferring technique for changing the images of the simulator

(c ) Merge of Virtual and Regular Competition Rules

  • During the implementation of the AutoReferee, many problems in the actual rule book were detected. Might make sense to merge the rules for the real competition as well, instead of mereley “throwing it away”

  • What rulebooks do we want to have?

  • Digest virtual

  • Digest physical

  • Exhaustive virtual/physical (including rule changes,


      - one book easier for teams to adapt to both (a lot of agreement)
      - also easier to get to FIFA rules if only one book

(d) Changes forseen according to RoadMap for 2020

  • Restructuring regular tournament (–> already implemented)

  • Open Humanoid Leagues (still no rule book, difference and overlap to the junior/major bridge unclear)

  • Humanoid Research Demo (–> already implemented, we had submissions for 2020, but not for 2021)

  • Reduction of the handlers interventions (todo)

  • Update of the technical challenges (todo)

         No extra comment.

(e) Size classes KidSize and AdultSize

  • Final voting was not conclusive last time (?) - should there be a gap in the size classes, or what should the new AdultSize and KidSize size restrictions should be (see concerns about not allowing AdultSize robots to grow smaller)

Ideas and comments:

   - small gap or overlap allowed teams to grow their robots slowly into bigger leagues, would be harder with a bigger gap like 50 cm
   - teen size looked a bit like "leftover league" at the end (teams using leftover robots from other leagues)
   - we still not now which robot-size might be the best for the 2050 goal
   - one opinion is that that shorter robots would need necessarily smaller fields than adults
   - several people also thought that incremental height would be beneficial
   - not all research should be focused on 2050 goal but also on current problems
   - building larger robots gets much more expensive

(f) How to handle teams using other teams hardware / software?


   - Everyone agrees that it is not cool to not mention other teams' code
   - SPL has rule that use of foreign code has to be announced beforehand through mailing list
   - this is also nice to know for a team
   - Is can be beneficial to announce as they might get hints about known problems/issues and relative solutions


    - having a hierarchy with contribution
    - the information can be included in the submission of the robot's description and documentation. If the choice of using someone else's code is done after the submission, it shoudl be announced to the mailing lists

extra point and comments:

   - team commenting their own teams was very good and that would be nice to have for the hardware competition