Saturday, August 24, 2013

PSP Riverside Open: Final Thoughts

I want to comment on a handful of things, two of which have already been covered, the Riverside venue and the Ton Tons' hot guns. I was perhaps too dismissive of the venue. The fields were more consistently level than lots of place the PSP has been before. The set-up was compact and accessible with paint trucks close by and a shady tree-lined boundary between the fields and the vendors. The only real downside, beside the expectation of late summer heat, was the hour plus drive from LAX--and that was at night when there was not much traffic. Bottom line, the Riverside venue was better than average--by a smidge. (FYI, a smidge is more than a pinch and less than a dollop.) Among past Cali venues San Bernadino had the best grass, perhaps ever but the rest was worse across the board. The Pomona events had good grass but uneven fields, long walks, parking fees and, oh yeah, a deluge (or two) of Biblical proportions. Then there was the Home Depot Center with its unpadded, ultra slippery turf looking to steal a little of that NPPL NFL parking lot panache. Okay, so by comparison Riverside was pretty legit.
Have you read the "apology"? (The Ton Ton's official statement regarding their hot guns at Riverside.) VFTD paraphrase: 'We're sorry y'all have blown this outta proportion and did we mention how hard it has been for us to compete around the world at the pro level?' Spare me the crocodile tears and emotional appeals. Bottom line the problem occurred on a Sunday, not on Friday. Despite the PSP's statement the refs got involved because opponents complained and PSP officials observed "peculiar" conduct which led to the discovery of 4 hot guns three of which merited major penalties or worse. Guns that were apparently hot all weekend--until they were penalized. There was (apparently) no proof of intent but there is circumstantial evidence. For example in the Ton Tons statement they say the gun that eventually shot 350+ originally received only a minor penalty--and if you watch the video you will see Tony (the ref) pull the trigger more than once. Then, after the other guns were checked Tony retested the first gun and it was hotter--and he tested it a third time and it exceeded 350 fps. The claim was made this was reg creep caused by a nicked or damaged o-ring--except that ain't how reg creep works. Every time you pull the trigger everything, naturally, resets starting the firing process all over again. Reg creep requires time to builds up the excess of pressure that results in a hot shot yet the '350' gun got hotter with less time between checks.
On the plus side I fully expect the PSP to once again maintain a more rigorous standard in regulating guns during events.
Did you notice the penalty boxes on the pro field at Riverside? The three wall, two door inflatable box from Chicago was still in use on the Challengers field but the webcast (Champions) field was reduced to an inflatable wall with a painted box on the grass behind the wall the penalized player(s) were to serve their time within. Is this another "improvement" or just an improvement over Chicago? And why another change? The rumored reason was that it helped improve the view for the folks in the VIP but nobody seemed to know for certain. One thing I know is that while the new "box" is supposed to offer the penalized player a better chance--which way will he exit the "box"?--the one place nobody goes anymore is the back center bunker--if there is one.
Finally a remark or two on the entertainment value, for lack of a better expression, generated by the play at Riverside. (Along with a prediction.) Admittedly there were lots of exciting back and forth matches with the great majority going to score instead of time. And I'm sure this is being viewed as a very positive outcome after the concerns of the recent past about slow, drawn out points and dull to watch matches. But--in a very real sense the results were manufactured or manipulated by the field layout. (In my next post we's gonna break down the Riverside layout to demonstrate how and why it played the way it did.) So while this was exciting this time--and the design principles are easily duplicated--will it remain exciting time after time or eventually come to seem predictable if in a different way than the slow point matches? (My prediction is that without additional changes this form too will become "boring" in time.)

15 comments:

MikeM said...

I think paintball events could be modeled more like professional golf majors. For example, the US Open is by far the hardest playing golf course of the year. The Masters always has fast greens.

Perhaps MAO is always a slower, zone heavy field. Chicago, no snake, West Coast super fast, World Cup as balanced as possible. Paintball has already had similar conventions for Chicago with the "diamond" appearing on more than one occasion.

Ideally, a field design should have avenues of attack on all three zones of the field (doritos/middle/snake) and be balanced in bunker distribution for teams to decide whether to play aggressively or defensively.

Anonymous said...

Not letting Ton Tons off the hook at all. But those Virtue Clocks get very different readings. We've had 272 in the pit and 302 on the field between guns.

At a hosted tournament we had a standard "Big Red" chrono read 20 fps lower than Virtues on one field. But read nearly the same to those on another.

From what I've been told, this is typically "user error" i.e. people chronoing in different ways. Distance from end of the barrel, angle, and whether it's flush with the barrel.

This issue should be investigated.

That being said, T Tons were extracting an advantage and you know when a gun is shooting over 330.

PbReplay said...

about the deadbox: I like the single wall, hope keep in that way.

Bryan Parks said...

My opinion on the penaltbox is it needs to look more offical for the pro field. It looks like a joke right now. Before with the PVC and net box they at least had PSP branding with Race2 writen on the side. The current one wall startinggate/penaltybox looks like recball. Not a startinggate/penaltybox for the premier league in the world. Just my two cents. PBA needs to present a clean professional product to the world if they hope for their investment to eventually pay out

NStoer said...

Regarding the TonTon issue -

Bottom line, everyone uses the same chrony system, and there's a lot of DM teams but it was the TonTon's who had 4 hot guns all weekend

Anonymous said...

On the DMs there is a setting for first shot drop off. I usually turn this up a little to compensate for the drop off. My experience, at Challenger level, is that the refs have allowed for a clearing shot then chrono the next ball(s). I wonder if Tony did this or chrono'ed the first ball. I wonder what the official rule is- I'm getting rid of that setting in my gun regardless. Luxes have the same setting and need the boost more than DMs as the bolt can "stick" more.

Nick Brockdorff said...

It should be obvious to anyone, that refs should not allow for a "clearing shot", since there is no way of making sure you won't hit someone in the head with the first ball :)

Baca Loco said...

356 Anon
While I'm not convinced it's relevant in this instance there certainly are issues between chrono readings and a lack of uniformity in the practice of checking guns which deserves to be reviewed more thoroughly.

It normally is user error but that's all the more reason to have standardized guidelines particularly in tournament situations.

1059 Anon
True enough but that plainly wasn't the issue even by the Ton Tons own description. And as a practical matter 'bolt stick' isn't given a pass as an acceptable excuse for a hot shot.

Anonymous said...

After cheking Aftershok's guns. Tony did go straight to the Tonton's pits and shot on both chrony at the same time for see if the results was the same. Tony is one of the best ref out here. Every pro player respect this guy. Give him some credit !

Tonton is talking about "one shot" over ... Rofl

Look how tony always shoot a lane on the chrony. Virtue chrony give you a average of all the shots.

All the proof are here = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5RnqrWZVjc

Tonton intentionally cheated for moving up in the champion's division. Period

Grant H. said...

Just a few questions so I can come to my own conclusions about the TonTons incident.

Do pro players/pit crew chrono guns before each match or just when they set up the guns at the start of the day and maybe after lunch?

How finely tuned are pro markers - are they +- 5psi or is more like +- 15psi?

Do Pro PSP refs chrono markers before each match?

Nick Brockdorff said...

It doesn't make sense to intentionally shoot hot, as you'll be chronoed too much for that to pay off - if the refs know what they are doing :)

It would only work out if you only shot hot on the breakout, and then velocity went back down.... do we REALLY think the Tontons have that kind of clout in paintball, to attempt to pull that off?

No way :)

Any player worth his salt chronoes before each match.

The velocity gap depends on the marker, and how good the player is with maintaining his equipment and matching paint to barrel - and not least paint quality.... some run 294-298... others have to do 285-295.

Baca Loco said...

Grant
1. That may depend on the players and/or teams but every team I've been associated with either by policy or practice checked guns before each match.
2. Again may fluctuate to some degree based on individual player set-up skills but I would say the norm doesn't exceed +/- 10 at the outside.
3. Normally they check every marker before every point but have apparently gotten a bit lax of late. A couple of my guys said they weren't checked going on field more than a couple of times at Riverside.

Anonymous said...

At Riverside I chrono'd for only two points. This was on the D2 field.

DanC. said...

Watch the replays, you'll find many players walking in and out of the pits without barrel bags too. I specifically remember axel gaudin doing it immediately the chrono incident.

To me that says the refs have gotten to complacent with the standard safety procedures that we in the divisional level get hit with. Chrono every point, and most flag hangs. Sometimes in a rush out there's not time to chrono but the refs are usually on and hit you if you win the point. I've even seen a player try to burn clock and hide, get chroned during that and get a flag thrown.

raehl said...

Re: the penalty boxes:

The removal of the sidewalls was a tweak to give the TV/Stats guys additional visibility as to who is in the box while keeping the features of the box (reduced visibility of the field for the penalized player + option to exit both sides.)