Sunday, April 19, 2009

Semi Semi, Semi Auto and Full Semi

The NCPA held their annual championship event this weekend at our regular practice field. In between our sessions and after we were done on Saturday I spent some time checking out the college teams. The NCPA allows semi-auto play and I was curious to see how their set-ups would play.
At the recent Huntington Beach event our team's general manager coined the semi-auto distinctions in the title of this post. (No, we're not such a big and powerful organization we have a GM like a pro football team but I call him that because he does everything from coaching to logistics to sponsorships so that I, like you, can be a lazy slacker.) In the electro-pneumatic marker era semi-auto is so broad a term as to be almost meaningless but it is possible to make distinctions. When a gun's electronics aren't very sophisticated or the player has made a real effort to prep a gun that really only shoots one ball per trigger pull the result is semi-semi. You may hear brief bursts of slightly higher rates of fire but mostly it sounds pretty slow. A "true" semi-auto set-up easily delivers higher rates of fire with greater consistency though you may hear a noticeable difference if/when the player switches hands. A full-semi gun is capable of firing one ball per trigger pull but once a sustained ROF has been achieved it starts roaring like a machine gun. At HB the majority of guns were semi-auto and full-semi.
Interestingly the majority of the guns I heard at the NCPA were semi-semi set-ups with some guns operating in the semi-auto range. There may have been a full-semi or two in the competition but I didn't hear one. The guns in use were, more or less, exactly the same guns seen at HB.
From that totally unscientific anecdote I draw a couple of conclusions. Either the average national level collegiate player has an arthritic trigger finger or else that same player has a much less flexible definition of how semi-auto ought to operate than the norm or the collegiate officials are able to maintain and enforce very strict standards. Personally, I tend to discount the trigger finger explanation and I find super refs kinda hard to believe.
So, what's the point, you ask? No point really.

17 comments:

sdawg said...

Sounds like semi-auto is just a very low debounce (and/or anti-mechanical bounce) setting.

How did they enforce semi semi at this competition? Raehl had hinted that they had some (new?) way to catch the cheater machine guns.

Baca Loco said...

I don't know that they did, sdawg. I am inclined to think they didn't have to because of the competitors themselves, by and large. But if not I'm sure the raehl faction will enlighten us. ;)
I would go so far as to suggest the college kids generally display greater sportsmanship, too, although it could be I missed the dark undercurrent of antipathy and loathing boiling just under the surface.

Don Saavedra said...

I wonder if there is more pressure from the NCAA as representatives of their colleges to be fair and above board.

Having never been to college, I can only speculate. I mean, drove by one once... so I know what they look like.

Joe R said...

We aren't associated with the NCAA, so there is no external pressure from them to have our guys perform fair.

Baca/sdawg: We did not have the toy Raehl wanted at the event.

I think sportsmanship here is the key. These teams play for pride and pour their hearts and souls into the events, with dozens of school rivalries always in the mix. No one wants to be that guy that gets a -50 score for their team because they wanted their gun to shoot a few extra balls more than semi semi, or a 3 minute major penalty for the Class A(XBall) group.

Anonymous said...

id say the #1 difference? THe players. my guys WANT a semi-semi game, and the USPL/nppl crowd have come to WANTING to play with full-semi. If you were to ask them (or the ones I know) if they'd like more enforcmenet? Hell no.

BTW, at least in the college tournaments i've gone to, i'd say its pretty well split between Semi-semi and semi-auto, however the "semi-auto" might take a little more of a knack to sustain then even the worst of the USPL guns ive seen.

Again, I dont have a terribely large sampling size, but thats just IMO.

TimS said...

i personally opt for the super ref theory;) although if nobody really wants to back me on that one, then i'd say it's closer to the level of sportsmanship displayed.

Agreeing with JoeR, in the past two years of working with the NCPA, there's a distinct difference in the level of maturity of the players/teams (for the better!!), than what I have the pleasure/displeasure of dealing with at other events, local, regional, or national.

--timS

Baca Loco said...

Present company excluded, of course, Tim.

TimS said...

...of course

mick said...

Semi-semi?? Semi-auto?? Full-semi?? Is that like sorta pregnant? Almost pregnant? Or pregnant but not really? It's this kind of conversation (started years ago by the Smart Parts boys) that butchered the semi-auto tournament scene.

Baca Loco said...

Nonsense, Mick. This kind of conversation exists for the simple reason local fields and tournament series have been unwilling to police the equipment.
And FYI the big time tournament series that SP is tied to has and enforces strict gun rules. In addition, once upon a time, at the dawn of the electro era the dominate gun makers had a max ROF deal in place and it wasn't SP that let Pandora out of her box.

mick said...

Hmmmmm...Am I wrong in thinking it was SP that "discovered" switch bounce and then capitalized on it. I remember talking to an SP tech years ago who tried for two hours on the phone to double talk me into believing bounce was still semi. All I got from the conversation was an uneasy feeling that a rate of fire war was on the horizon.

Semi is semi. The gray in the gray area created by techs and computer geeks is smoke being blown up our butts in an attempt to justify cheater boards - solidly backed, I might add, by the people selling paint.

Allot of people were trying to get into Pandora's box!

Baca Loco said...

SP "discovered" a lot of things as we all know and it may be I misunderstood your previous post's intent. My point was SP wasn't alone nor were they more culpable than many others. Some like to pick out Jim Drew at WAS but end of the day most guns could be set-up to be at least close to "real" semi-auto but they aren't and that's on the players.
As for semi being semi--maybe in the dictionary but that ain't where the rubber meets the road and why the mocking distinctions of semi-semi, semi-auto and full semi actually have force--because peeps immediately recognize the differences as real.

raehl said...

At the captain's meetings, my instructions were thus:

"This event is semi-auto. The standard of enforcement is the referee's judgment. If the referee thinks your gun is not semi-auto, then it's not semi-auto, and you will get the penalty. The referee does not need to "prove" that your gun is not semi-auto, pull it, test, it, whatever. If you are not sure if your gun is semi-auto, turn the debounce up two settings. If the gun shoots slower, turn your debounce up two settings. If the gun is slower, turn your debounce up two settings. If your gun shoots the same speed, *THAT* is semi-auto."

Allowing semi-auto to be a referee judgment call and reducing the gun penalty to be in the neighborhood of other referee judgment calls (player eliminated and -50 points for 5-man and 3-minute major for XBall) makes it moderately possible to actually enforce semi-auto.

Anonymous said...

the problem with giving refs such wild latitude is you get the 1% of the population pulling stupid fast on legit boards (one of my guys, a guy from OU, a couple others) pulled for shooting fast.

The problem with NOT giving the refs such latitude is full-semi. It is pandora's box.

MissyQ said...

The guy that said SP were to blame for the demise of true semi is absolutely correct. The 'Turbo' was the first exploration into 'grey-area switching' - released in Pittsburgh in 98 I think, and it was those boys that blurred the rules so that shots could be 'stored' and used later. I was there at the ROF negotiations (Bud Orr and JJ Brookshire were pushing for 13bps, and at that time no-one else had anything but real semi-auto). This 'turbo' was a competitive advantage and Smart Parts had the pull to influence the rulings so it could be used. Everyone else eventually followed, and it was Jim Drew and Bob Long that were the fastest to catch on. Some manufacturers held out for years, but eventually followed, due to market pressure.
So yeah. Smart parts fault.

raehl said...

You mean like that kid from IlSU that swears he can shoot 24 bps in legit semi? Riiiiight.

Anonymous said...

Don't be jealous, Chris...