Robothon – Beacons and Barriers Level Design

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The robot marathon has started!  As the large autonomous vehicle drives down the empty street, it decides when and where to turn.  The bot navigates through the streets, using the dashed lines as guides.  There are a lot of potential wrong turns that it avoids as it rolls by houses and picnic tables.  Eventually, it drives under the banner at the finish line much to the programmer’s delight.

Did this happen in your town?  Maybe!  In fact it might be happening in your town right now because it’s not a physical robot – but a virtual robot driving through a virtual town!

Contest Overview

Beacons & Barriers competition imageThis is a game level created by Robotics Academy high school intern, Eddie, for the Beacons and Barriers level design competition.  Eddie used Autodesk Inventor to create some of the models and imported them into the Robot Virtual Worlds Level Builder.

The competition asks participants to create a level for RVW Level Builder, including Checkpoints and obstacles, through which players will navigate a robot.  In addition, participants must write instructions for the level.

How He Created the Level

Eddie used the design process discussed in the Computer Science Student Network’s (CS2N) course for level design called Create Your Own Level with RVW Level Builder.

brainstorm notes about level written with pen and paper

This process starts with brainstorming and research.  He jotted his notes on a piece of paper.  You’ll notice in the image that the drawings are not perfect, that some things were crossed out.  That’s perfectly fine – in fact – that’s what you want to do.

The process of jotting your ideas on paper allows you to see ideas.  If they aren’t good or they won’t work like you thought they might, then you can modify them or come up with ones that will work.  Notice how Eddie crossed out the first drawing with the curved road?  He realized that roads might be easier to construct if they were straight.

Eddie then mapped out his level – showing the start tile, finish tile, checkpoints, and obstacles (in this case: grass).  He then drew how the tiles should look.  Afterward, he modeled the tiles using Autodesk Inventor.  The Inventor Tutorials course on CS2N was helpful in showing him, step by step, how to create an object, export it and then import it into RVW Level Builder.

map drawn with pen and graph papertiles drawn with pen and graph paperscreenshot of road tile in Inventor

Once he made his level, Eddie tested it and wrote down ideas for ways to test it.  He then gave the level to a peer to test.  The test results proved that the level worked well and wasn’t too hard.

For the last phase, Eddie wrote the instructions for the level, zipped the level and the instructions into the same folder and submitted it to the competition.

How You Can Create Your Own Level

This was Eddie’s first time using the RVW Level Builder and he has had limited experience using Autodesk Inventor.  He learned how to use these programs by enrolling in free courses at  You can too!  And since they are online, you can learn at your own pace

Check out the courses:

Introduction to Inventor – Learn the basics of Inventor.

portal for Create Your Own Level for Robot Virtual Worlds

Create Your Own Level with RVW Level Builder – From ideation to product release, learn how to create levels using the RVW Level Builder.

portal for Inventor Tutorials

Inventor Tutorials – Step by step instructions on creating an object in inventor and importing it into RVW Level Builder.






Once your level is complete, upload it to one of our level design competitions on CS2N.

Written by Luke Reynolds

August 16th, 2013 at 5:37 pm