## Gaps

FrankZhang
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### Gaps

Can anyone tell me how gaps are measured and how you gain points from gaps? Do you only measure horizontal distance(parallel with the ground?), do you measure vertical and horizontal distance? Or is the gap just measured directly from where the marble leaves the track to where it hits the track again? Also, how are points calculated?

bmd234
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### Re: Gaps

FrankZhang wrote:Can anyone tell me how gaps are measured and how you gain points from gaps? Do you only measure horizontal distance(parallel with the ground?), do you measure vertical and horizontal distance? Or is the gap just measured directly from where the marble leaves the track to where it hits the track again? Also, how are points calculated?
Hello! So this is how I believe it works after reading the rules thoroughly. I'm going to address your questions in order.

1) Can anyone tell me how gaps are measured and how you gain points from gaps? Do you measure vertical and horizontal distance?

In order to get 5 bonus points, you must have your marble (I will assume it's a marble to explain this even though it may be another object) go 1 centimeter horizontally. It doesn't matter how high it goes vertically.

2)Or is the gap just measured directly from where the marble leaves the track to where it hits the track again?
Yes, I believe that is the way it works. The gap is measured from the last place the marble in grounded before it makes the jump to the place where the marble first touches the other side of the track after being in the air.

3) Also, how are points calculated?
Points are calculated based on height, bonus points from jumps, and time from start to finish. The equation given for the scoring in the manual is: Run Score = Height Score + Time Score + Gap Bonus. Run score being your final score, height score being the extra points you can acquire from making your roller coaster's height less, time score being the time from start to finish of your object on your roller coaster, and gap bonus being the extra 5 points for each centimeter you have your object jump horizontally.

I really suggest reading the manual if you haven't already because it does clarify most of these points, however, if you're still confused on anything ask

jander14indoor
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### Re: Gaps

First, reminder for experienced board members, and info for new ones.
This is NOT an official response in any way shape or form. Merely an opinion from careful reading of the rules, with quotes where relevant.

From the rules, emphasis is mine:
Para 3.i.The device may contain Gaps in the track to earn a Gap Bonus. Gaps are defined as an open span without support or guidance that the vehicle must pass to continue its run. Gaps must have a horizontal span of at least 5.0 cm from the end of the track the vehicle leaves measured to the closest part of the track the vehicle lands on. The vehicle must travel completely unsupported in the air to earn bonus points. After landing the vehicle must travel at least 5 cm on the track in the direction of the jump (e.g.,a gap may not end with the vehicle hitting a wall). And more, this is only part of the paragraph, you can download the rules for free for the NSO site this year!! Do it, READ them.

My responses to the original poster in red.
FrankZhang wrote:Can anyone tell me how gaps are measured and how you gain points from gaps? Do you only measure horizontal distance(parallel with the ground?) YES, ref bolded words in rules above, do you measure vertical and horizontal distance NO? Or is the gap just measured directly from where the marble leaves the track to where it hits the track again NO, ref underlined words above?<SNIP>
So, the gap is measured only with respect to the track, not the vehicle flight path.
As an engineer, were I the ES, I'd measure it with a gage block with a level of some sort on it. I'd have a series of blocks starting at 5 cm, then 6 cm, 7 cm, etc since the points are awarded in whole cm intervals.

para 5.e.Gap Bonus = 5 points for each whole cm measured horizontally from the end of the track the vehicle leaves measured to the closest part of the track the vehicle lands on.Points are only awarded if the vehicle successfully reaches the other side of the track.
FrankZhang wrote:<SNIP>Also, how are points calculated?
Vehicle has to pass the gap unsupported through the air to the next part of the track to gain the score on that run. The bonus is calculated per rule 5.e above and based ONLY on the track gap measurement, not the distance the vehicle was in the air. So a minimum bonus for a gap would be 25 points 5cm X 5 pts/cm and climb in 5 pt jumps. A 5.0 to 5.9999(how good is the ES's gage?) gap would still get 25 points. From 6.0 to 6.99999(etc) would get 30 points. And so on. Additional gaps would be scored separately, up to 5 gaps (that's in the part of rule 3.i I didn't quote).

SPP SciO
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### Re: Gaps

Has anyone crunched all the numbers for scoring yet? The gap score is the only part of the total score without a ceiling, so I imagine the best coasters will have the most gap distance.

Since the max height is 80cm, the height score will fall in a range of 20 - 100 points. That seems to mean, if you can achieve at least 80 points via gaps, you should go for it. That's only 12cm of horizontal jumping. Is this logic correct? Consider two hypothetical machines with perfect time scores - the first is only 1cm tall (somehow), but no gaps: 99 height points, 0 gap points. Another is max height, but has a single 16cm "ski jump" gap: that's 20 height points + 80 gap points. Is that accurate?

My students haven't worked on any prototypes at all, so I'm not sure how much tougher it is to build one large gap instead of several smaller ones, but I'd imagine the bigger gap would be easier to manage... Thoughts?
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JionPark
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### Re: Gaps

If two tracks were vertical from each other, would it still be considered a gap if it follows the 5 cm mark?

jander14indoor
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### Re: Gaps

See quote in my post above from the rules, gap is measured horizontally, vertical is irrelevant.

Jeff Anderson
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AndrewGatt
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### Re: Gaps

SPP SciO wrote:Has anyone crunched all the numbers for scoring yet? The gap score is the only part of the total score without a ceiling, so I imagine the best coasters will have the most gap distance.

Since the max height is 80cm, the height score will fall in a range of 20 - 100 points. That seems to mean, if you can achieve at least 80 points via gaps, you should go for it. That's only 12cm of horizontal jumping. Is this logic correct? Consider two hypothetical machines with perfect time scores - the first is only 1cm tall (somehow), but no gaps: 99 height points, 0 gap points. Another is max height, but has a single 16cm "ski jump" gap: that's 20 height points + 80 gap points. Is that accurate?

My students haven't worked on any prototypes at all, so I'm not sure how much tougher it is to build one large gap instead of several smaller ones, but I'd imagine the bigger gap would be easier to manage... Thoughts?
Your math regarding the two hypothetical roller coasters is correct.
I don't think one large gap is the best way to go. You'll run into a problem with the width of the roller coaster. Since the roller coaster can only be 60 cm wide, you will have a hard time making one large downhill ramp that is takes advantage of all of that height without being long in the horizontal direction and which also smoothly changes the marble's speed into horizontal speed, then have it jump a long distance, land and keep traveling in the same direction at least another 5 cm without going over that 60 cm width limit.

builder83
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### Re: Gaps

How many people have 30cm plus in gap or gaps? And... at least 20sec of track.

People building multiple middle stages of tracks to adjust time or just slowing down/speeding up their main track?

sandvinsd
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### Re: Gaps

In the early invitationals so far, I have seen several coasters with more than 30 cm in gaps. The top 1/3 of the coasters all had at least 20 cm total in gaps. The longest single gaps were in the mid-20s. All of those coasters have 20-45 second time ranges.

At least in CA, if you don't have 30cm in gaps, I would not expect to medal in either the SD or LA regional. It will take at least 50cm in gaps to win, and maybe 60+ cm as the coasters competing now are already at those didtances.

nicksalanitri
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### Re: Gaps

Does anyone know the best ball to use (size or type), the ball I am using can only get me about 29-30cm of gaps. With this distance do you think that placing is possible in the New York/Pennsylvania area tournaments? Max score overall possible is about 240.
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