Archive for March 4th, 2013
More great news for Robot Virtual World users! Operation Reset version 1.5.2 is available and includes some fixes and great new features. The most notable of the new features is what we’re calling the Measurement Toolkit.
Research conducted with the Robot Virtual Worlds (RVW) has shown that it is actually a more efficient tool for teaching how to program than real robots. RVW allows you to learn how to program with motors and sensors, but without the wasted time of charging batteries, resetting the robot, repairing damaged parts, and so on. That said, one limitation of the Virtual Worlds has been that you couldn’t just place a tape measure and protractor in the world like you could with a real robot… until now. The Measurement Toolkit takes all of the guess-and-checking out of using the Virtual Worlds, and more importantly, allows them to be used as extremely valuable tools for teaching and reinforcing crucial math concepts like proportionality.
The Measurement Toolkit consists of 3 new buttons, placed along the right side of the Operation Reset interface:
- SHOW The SHOW button turns the Measurement Toolkit on or off. When turned on, it will display the distance and angle to “key objects” in range of the robot. For Operation Reset, this means objects like the Charge Cubes (see below), Fuel Barrels and Crystals. Turning the Measurement Toolkit on also creates a line coming out of the robot that shows its heading (the red line below), and enables you to ADD your own “key point markers” in the world.
- ADD The ADD button lets you to place your own “key point markers” (see below) in the world, allowing you to find key distances and angles for your robot to traverse. Once the Measurement Toolkit is turned on, you must also click the ADD button to enable it. Once you do, simply click on the spot in the world where you would like a marker to be created and one will appear, along with the distance and angle from the robot (see below). Up to three sequential markers can be created by clicking on multiple spots in the world, allowing you to do some intelligent path planning. When your robot drives into one of the key point markers it is removed, and the next key point updates to show it’s distance and angle directly from the robot. If you’re unhappy with any of the points that you create, you can right-click with your mouse, and the last point you created will be removed.
- CLEAR The CLEAR button removes all of the markers that you’ve created in the world. It is only enabled if you have created your own key point markers.
The Measurement Toolkit will change how you use Robot Virtual Worlds and enable new possibilities whether you’re using them in the classroom, for fun at home, or to help prepare for a robotics competition. We’ve already included it in Palm Island: Luau Edition, and will be updating our existing worlds to include it. We’re also producing some video materials that show step-by-step how to use the new functionality, so be on the lookout for those in the coming weeks.
As always, we appreciate any feedback you have about the Robot Virtual Worlds, Operation Reset, and the Measurement Toolkit. Please share it on our Facebook page, here on the blog, or the ROBOTC.net forums.
- Jesse Flot
To be more precise, this new Luau Edition of Palm Island is really a “reintroduction”. Our first version of Palm Island was released in the summer of 2011. Since that time, we’ve learned quite a bit and developed a lot of great features, so we decided to put together this major upgrade to the world.
Whether you’ve used the original version of Palm Island or this version is your first, you will appreciate just how beautiful and vibrant this world is. Take a look at this comparison picture between the two versions (more pictures below):
Of course, the changes are much more than skin deep. Players are immersed in a world where they are programmers-in-training under Commander Roxie Rivet-minder. In addition to programming their robots to traverse the boardwalk path as part of the typical training regiment, they will have to prepare for a Luau Commander Rivet-minder is throwing by setting Lobster Traps, collecting Coconut Clusters, and placing Trash Bins. Just look at some of these shots from the world:
There’s a ton of new features and functionality included in Palm Island: Luau Edition, too many to give justice to in one short blog post, so we’ll be highlighting different features in the coming days and weeks. A quick snapshot of some of these new features includes:
- A completely refreshed world with new art and immersion elements
- New side missions, a keyboard control area, and a line tracking element
- An in-game map and interface that updates as the player makes progress in the world
- A new Tutorial system that allows content to differ whether you’re using Virtual Worlds for Mindstorms or Virtual Worlds for VEX Cortex
- Two highly detailed, printable maps of the island, and a new issue of Robotics Today Magazine
- Measurement tools that allow you to quickly view the distance and angles your robot needs to move
- A new main menu to log in, quickly get to content, switch between robots, and enable/disable features in the world
Of course, the best thing that you can do is download and install Palm Island: Luau Edition from the RVW Level Packs page. Like all of our Virtual Worlds, Palm Island is completely free if you have a Robot Virtual Worlds license, and if you don’t have one you can try it for free. We would love to hear your thoughts about Palm Island! Please share them on our Facebook page, here on the blog, or the ROBOTC.net forums.
- Jesse Flot
ROBOTC community member Mike McFarlane has recently released a plugin for the popular Sublime Text Editor. This new plugin will allow users to edit .c files on both Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms, which can then be opened and compiled in ROBOTC (the Sublime Editor will not be able to compile the code to a robot, unfortunately).
Quote from Mike (full post on the ROBOTC forum):
“I’ve written a plugin for the elegant and productive Sublime Text editor that will allow you to create and edit RobotC code on Mac, Linux and Windows. It’s got autocomplete on the full set of RobotC functions and variables, search via functional and platform category, tabbing between a functions values, syntax aware colouring and code snippets. Only v0-2 right now, but it works…It’s not possible to compile or debug outside the RobotC IDE, but I’ve got some ideas on ways to get the files quickly in and out the IDE.”
For more information on the new plugin, check out Mike’s blog post. If you are comfortable with the Sublime Text Editor and wish to download the plugin directly, you can do so from this site.
Any features you’d like to see added in the future?