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RVW Update: VEX Sack Attack v1.2.1 Now Available!

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Attention all VEX teams! We just released a substantial update to this year’s VEX Sack Attack virtual world. Download it here, or on the RVW Level Packs download page. Here’s what’s new:

New Robot: Clawbot

  • Clawbot features a 4-wheel, 2-motor drive system, an arm motor, a gripper, and the full array of sensors. Best of all, it’s fully programmable in ROBOTC!
  • Additional sample code for Clawbot is installed with the update, and can be downloaded here.

Pre-loads and Automatic Scoring

  • Both Gripperbot and Scooperbot can be pre-loaded with a sack! You can control what side the robot starts on, whether it gets a pre-load, and enable the autonomous duration all from the main menu.
  • Scoring is fully implemented in this new version.
    • Earn normal points from sacks, bonus points from bonus sacks, and even more bonus points from the autonomous bonus and “parking” your robot before time runs out.
    • A cool, new timer and scoreboard keeps track of the match in the top-left corner of the window. Compete with your classmates or teammates to see who can get the highest score before time runs out!
  • Driver Control loads are also implemented once the autonomous period ends. Introduce them into the playing field by clicking on the green sack icons in the top-right corner.

Sensor View

  • Ever wonder why your Ultrasonic sensor “sees” the values that it does? Enable the new Sensor View to see what’s triggering the Ultrasonic sensor and the heading of your compass.

Additional Enhancements

  • We’ve improved the robot-sack interaction on all of the robots.
  • The lighting and contrast of the game have been enhanced, making it easier to grab and score the sacks.
  • Lots of small tweaks and adjustments.

To view the original post for the VEX Sack Attack virtual world (complete with video), visit this link.

Written by Jesse Flot

September 19th, 2012 at 11:16 am

ROBOTC 3.50 Now Available!

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The ROBOTC Development team is proud to announce that ROBOTC 3.50 for the LEGO Mindstorms, VEX Cortex and PIC, Arduino, and Robot Virtual World platforms is now available! The new ROBOTC 3.50 update is free-of-charge for ALL existing ROBOTC 3.0 license holders. Download today and try out all of the new features and enhancements available in ROBOTC 3.50!

Change log for ROBOTC 3.50 (since version 3.08):

MAJOR UPDATES:

  • Full ANSI-C support to support pointers, recursion, and stacks with an updated compiler and updated robot firmware.
  • New and Updated Debugger Windows:
    • “Local Variables” to monitor variables in the current task or function.
    • (Note: Local variables are only available when your program is suspended)
    • “Global Variables” to monitor variables available to your entire program.
    • “Call Stacks” to monitor function calls in the currently selected task.
  • Updated Documentation and Wiki (www.robotc.net/wiki) – Constantly Updating!
  • Support for Standard C commands – sprintf(), sscanf(), support for character arrays, unsigned variables, etc.
  • Support for the Arduino family of controllers (Uno, Mega, Mega 2560) with future support and expanded functionality for the Arduino Leonardo and Due controllers.
  • Updated Robot Virtual Worlds support to include additional sensors and motors.
  • Improved Robot Virtual Worlds performance to simulate more realistic physics and robot behaviors.
  • Support for the new MATRIX building system with the NXT.

Robot Specific Fixes:

  • NXT I2C sensors were incorrectly initializing clock and data lines as outputs when first configuration. They were correctly left as inputs after first message was sent. Change was to initialize as inputs. Before change, the first I2C message on an empty port will incorrectly appear to succeed.
  • Ignore HiTechnic Textrix Motor Controller spurious encoder counts. I.E. if encoder value read is hex ‘FF80xxxx’ then force a reread. Always accept the re-read value.
  • Eliminate Z-Axis from VEX joystick window as is unused.
  • Arduino boards now support controlling LEDs from PWM pins.
  • Arduino boards now will read zero when connecting analog to ground.

Interface Updates/Fixes:

  • Add “Show Current Program Counter” button to Debugger.
  • Add new template for “New File”. All new programs will start with a task main structure. This template can be modified by the user (it lives in  /Sample Programs/Platform/Templates)
  • Always force “Save As” for all template files. Before the files were being saved in a default directory.
  • Allow any serial port to be used with VEX PIC systems.
  • Allow user entered blank (empty) lines before first “#pragma config(” lines. Currently generates a compiler error.
  • Improve placement of related compiler generated errors to appropriate line numbers.
  • Fix bug where “Motors and Sensors Setup” did not work on empty files.
  • Properly restore floating “Debugger Panes” when Debugger is invoked.
  • Changed Checkmarks to Radio Icons for many menu items. This shows a “dot” instead of a “check mark” in the menu icon field.
  • Created tooltip strings in resource file for all missing commands.
  • Prepare to add two new Debugger panes to display “Breakpoints” and “Bookmarks”. Based on the existing “Compiler Errors” pane architecture. The new panes are displayed but the content is still empty.
  • Better synchronization of breakpoints between “Source File” and “Disassembly Listing”. Previously when breakpoint was added/removed in one window the corresponding change was not properly made in the other window. Now the breakpoint ICONs are always refreshed whenever a window is “Activated” (i.e. made topmost).
  • Add two new menu commands for “increase indent” and “decrease indent”.
  • Tweak “auto close breakpoint hit” message box implementation. Add a check mark to the dialog.
  • Add new “Compile OR Compile+Download” toolbar.
  • Debug “Task Status” window — minor enhancements.
  • FONT name was not being updated in Preferences “Font” tab correctly. Fixed.

Compiler and Command Updates/Fixes:

  • Pointer support. New functions positioning for improvements in the dereference (“*”) and address of (“&”) unary operators.
  • New “#pragma debugWindows(…)” to specify a list of Debugger Windows that should be opened.
  • Add new intrinsic function “DebugStreamClear” to allow programs on robot to clear the debug stream.
  • Support for “Implied Pointers” in functions.
  • Fixed compiler priority for binary and unary versions of ‘&’, ‘*’, ‘+’ and ‘-‘ operators.
  • Support for unsigned longs.
  • Add new intrinsic function for “round”.
  • Added support for ‘atan2′.
  • Allow ‘struct’ pointers as valid function return types.
  • Fix issue in ‘struct’ declaration causing a random memory overwrite in ROBOTC IDE.
  • Support pointer variables for ‘++’ and ‘–‘.
  • ‘sizeof’ operator now accepts argument types of ‘char’, ‘short’, ‘long’, ‘float’, …
  • Fix bug in evaluating “complicated” / compound constant expressions in “#if”.
  • Add support for ‘%p’ format code in ‘sprintf’.
  • Improve code generation for pointer references to ‘struct’.
  • Added doubly nested ‘->’ operator.
  • Fixed bug in unary ‘-‘ VM opcode.
  • Improve code generation for structure element access.
  • Fix implementation of structure element access code generation; i.e. the “.” operator.
  • Partially re-implement “sizeof” operator for proper calculation of ‘pointer’ and ‘reference’ variables.
  • Add “drop down toolbar button” to “Compile and Download” toolbar to select “Download + Compile” or “Compile” only; vs two separate buttons.
  • Add partial support for new download “write to RAM” message. Needed for new “local variables” window.
  • Add support for new “trinary opcodes” (+, – and *) with ‘long’ operands. Previously trinary opcodes were for ‘short’ variables. Trinary opcodes are primarily used for efficient code generation for array and structure element access.
  • Added definition for new “NoOp” command.

Written by Jesse Flot

September 18th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

RVW Update: FTC Ring It Up v1.2 Now Available!

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UPDATE: Version 1.2.2 of the Ring It Up virtual world is now available, which includes additional starting points and memory management improvements.

We’re happy to announce a MASSIVE update to this year’s virtual world for FTC Ring It Up! Download it here, or on the RVW Level Packs download page. Read on to find out what’s new.

Support for the IR Seeker and IR Beacon

  • As the title implies, the IR Seeker and IR Beacon are both emulated in this new version. From the robot selection screen, you can choose whether your want your robot to start with the Compass or IR Seeker.
  • The IR Beacon is randomly placed along one of the three columns, just like the real game.
  • We’ve even added a cool, new “Sensor View” mode so you can see how the robot is detecting the IR Seeker, Sonar, and Compass values.
  • Additional sample programs for using the IR Seeker are also installed with the update, and can be downloaded here.

Pre-loads

  • Both Scissorbot and Gripperbot can be pre-loaded with a striped ring!
  • You can control what side the robot starts on, the color of it’s pre-loaded ring, and enable the autonomous duration all from the main menu.

Automatic Scoring

  • Scoring is fully implemented in this new version.
  • Concepts like the weighted rings, owning pegs, line score bonuses and corner goal bonuses are all simulated.
  • Cool, new timer and scoreboard in the top-left corner of the window. Compete with your classmates or teammates to see who can get the highest score before time runs out!

Additional Enhancements

  • We’ve improved the lighting and contrast of the game, making it easier to grab and score the rings.
  • Improved robot-to-ring interaction and control.
  • Lots of small tweaks and adjustments.

To view the original post for the FTC Ring It Up virtual world (complete with video), visit this link.

Written by Jesse Flot

September 14th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Posted in FTC,NXT,Releases

Tagged with , , , ,

FTC Ring It Up Virtual World v1.0 Now Available!

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The Robot Virtual World team is proud to announce their initial release of the FTC Ring It Up! virtual environment, just in time for kickoff! This year’s virtual competition field features two new robots designed specifically for the game; the Scissorbot and the Gripperbot. The robots are completely programmable in ROBOTC and even use the same Logitech USB Remote Control as the real world competition, allowing teams to refine their programming skills, practice driving, and form gameplay strategies well in advance of their first matches.

Note that the new features in the virtual world require the latest version of ROBOTC, version 3.50.

Here’s a video of the Ring It Up! virtual world in action:

New Robots
TETRIX Scissorbot features 4 driving motors, a scissor lift and a LEGO gripper:

The Scissorbot gripper is best at picking up tubes parallel to its gripper.

TETRIX Gripperbot features 2 driving motors, and arm motor and a LEGO gripper:

The gripper on Gripperbot is best at picking up tubes perpendicular to its gripper.

User Interface
The new and improved user interface allows you to switch between the robots, choose different starting positions, and tells you where the growing list of motors and sensors are connected:

Controlling the Robots
Sample code for programming the robots to move autonomously or via a Logitech USB Remote is installed with the level pack. It can also be downloaded here.

Don’t have a Logitech USB Remote Control? No Problem! We’ve also added keyboard control for the robots when a ROBOTC program isn’t running! The controls are as follows:

  • W” key: Robot moves forward
  • A” key: Robot turns left
  • S” key: Robot moves in reverse
  • D” key: Robot turns right
  • {” key: Gripper Closes
  • }” key: Gripper Opens
  • ;” (semicolon) key: Wrist motor up
  • ” (single quote) key: Wrist motor down
  • <” key: Scissor lift / Arm motor up
  • >” key: Scissor lift / Arm motor down

Driver Camera View
Check out Camera view 4 to practice driving the new virtual robots from the same perspective you’ll use in the competition.

Future Enhancements!
We’re extremely excited about this release, but we’re not done yet. Check out some of the enhancements that are on their way!

  • Addition of “Autonomous Rings” pre-loaded on the robots
  • Emulation of the IR Sensor and IR Beacon
  • Dynamically calculated scoring

The FTC Ring It Up! virtual world can be downloaded here, or under the Available Level Packs section of the RVW Download Page.

Written by Jesse Flot

September 8th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Posted in Competitions,FTC,NXT,Releases

Tagged with , ,

Announcing ROBOTC 3.5! Beta Version Available Today

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The ROBOTC Development team is proud to announce thatROBOTC 3.5 for the LEGO Mindstorms, VEX Cortex and PIC, Arduino, and Robot Virtual World platforms will be available on September 7th, 2012. The new ROBOTC 3.5 update will be free-of-charge for ALL existing ROBOTC 3.0 license holders. Download a Beta version (3.45) today to get a sneak peak at all of the new features and enhancements available in ROBOTC 3.5!

ROBOTC 3.5 has a number of new features and enhancements:

  • Full ANSI-C support to support pointers, recursion, and stacks with an updated compiler and updated robot firmware.
  • New and Updated Debugger Windows:
    • “Local Variables” to monitor variables in the current task or function.
      (Note: Local variables are only available when your program is suspended)
    • “Global Variables” to monitor variables available to your entire program.
    • “Call Stacks” to monitor function calls in the currently selected task.
  • Updated Documentation and Wiki (www.robotc.net/wiki) – Still in progress!
  • Support for Standard C commands – sprintf(), sscanf(), support for character arrays, unsigned variables, etc.
  • Support for the Arduino family of controllers (Uno, Mega, Mega 2560) with future support and expanded functionality for the Arduino Leonardo and Due controllers.
  • Updated Robot Virtual Worlds support to include additional sensors and motors.
  • Improved Robot Virtual Worlds performance to simulate more realistic physics and robot behaviors.
  • Support for the new MATRIX building system with the NXT.
  • Many general enhancements and bug fixes – more in-depth change log to come with the ROBOTC 3.5 official release.

Please remember that the Beta available today should not be installed across entire school sites–this is a beta version, so install at your own risk!

You can participate in the ROBOTC 3.45 Beta version by downloading a copy here. Please note that the Beta version will uninstall your existing version of ROBOTC; the Beta will use your existing licensing so there is no need to ‘Deactivate’ before installing. If you have any issues/questions with the ROBOTC Beta, please e-mail betasupport [at] robotc [dot] net for assistance and to alert us of any issues to be fixed between now and release day.

Written by Tim Friez

August 24th, 2012 at 11:24 am

New Version of the RVW Curriculum Companion Challenge Tables!

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The ROBOTC Robot Virtual World team is extremely proud to announce a brand new version of the RVW Curriculum Companion Tables for both LEGO and VEX. This new version (2.2.1) contains an incredible number of enhancements and new features. It is a free update for all existing Robot Virtual World users. Read on to find out more!

New Login Functionality
If you have an account on the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N.org), you can now log in and earn achievements. This also allows you to save your progress – marking the challenges that you’ve completed so far. If you don’t have a CS2N account, what are you waiting for?


If your computer isn’t online, you can also create a local account to log in and track your progress locally. If you’re not interested in tracking your progress, you can always take advantage of the “Log In as Guest” feature, too.


Achievement Badges and Updated User Interface
As the new login functionality implies, we’ve also added achievement badges to the challenges! You can earn Motivation badges as you work through a given challenge, Progress badges as you complete challenges, and Mastery badges when you complete specified sets from the Movement, Sensing, Remote Control, and Variables sections of the Curriculum Companion Challenges. For additional background information on badges, visit this page on CS2N.

We’ve upgraded the user interface to indicate which challenges have achievement badges. Challenges with badges have a star next to their name on the list on the left. Clicking on the challenge provides additional detail.


Whether you’re logged in with a CS2N or a local account, the new Badges section displays all of the challenges that you’ve earned so far.


From the Badges section, you can also generate a PDF of all of your Progress and Mastery badges.


And if you’re using your CS2N account, you can check your progress on your Achievements page.


New In-Game Animations and Notifications
We’ve also added brand new animations and achievements to the challenges. You’ll be notified when you complete the challenge, or if your robot does something that that causes it to fail. Motivation and Progress badges will appear as you earn them on the challenges.


Challenges that require a number of laps to be performed or for certain lines to be crossed now include visual cues such as counters and 3D makers.


Robot Physics and Size Improvements
All VEX, LEGO and TETRIX robots have had their size and physics adjusted to more closely match their real-world counterparts.


Many More Small Fixes and Enhancements
There’s too many in this category to list, so try the latest version out for yourself! Download it here.

For more information about the Robot Virtual World software, or help getting it up and running, visit this page.

Written by Jesse Flot

July 23rd, 2012 at 3:49 pm

New Virtual World: The Ruins of Atlantis!

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The Robot Virtual World team is proud to announce a brand new virtual environment: The Ruins of Atlantis!

European, Asian, and African histories all reference an ancient city named Atlantis. According to legend, Atlantis was the center of trade and commerce for Eurasia thousands of years ago. Atlantis had incredible wealth due to a combination of prolific natural resources, people that were gifted and wise, and because it was located on a trade route used by Europeans, Asians, and Africans.  For years we’ve thought that Atlantis was a myth, but with the emergence of new robotics technologies we are able to explore areas of the world that humans have never been to before.  Read on to learn more.

The Ruins of Atlantis Virtual World is designed to reinforce behavior-based programming in a fun and meaningful way. Students can practice their ROBOTC programming, using a full set of virtual motors and sensors on exciting new robots, 6000 meters below the surface of the ocean. Example code found in the Sample Programs > Virtual World folder built-in to ROBOTC will help them collect as many gems and coins as possible throughout the world.

Here’s video of the new AnemoBot traveling through the Ruins of Atlantis.

Click here to download the Ruins of Atlantis.

Need help setting up Robot Virtual Worlds? Visit this page!

Written by Jesse Flot

May 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Posted in NXT,Releases,VEX

Major Improvements in ROBOTC 3.05 for VEX Cortex

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ROBOTC 3.05 contains a number of enhancements that should be very exciting for VEX Cortex users. This is a free update for all ROBOTC for Cortex and PIC users (yes, even if you were using 2.3x)!

The ROBOTC 3.05 installer now includes the VEX Cortex and Prolific USB-to-Serial drivers. You no longer need to remember to download and install these separately.

We’ve heard your feedback! The new “Automatically Update VEX Cortex” option will detect if your Cortex is out-of-date, and automatically download the latest version of the Master CPU and ROBOTC Firmware files if needed. There’s no need to go through the long process of manually downloading each firmware, or put the VEX Cortex in “bootload” mode! The same functionality has been implemented for the VEXnet Joysticks as well.

Also included is a new version of the Master CPU Firmware from VEX Robotics. This version restores the functionality from the 2.x firmware, which allowed programs to run even when VEXnet was turned on (but not used).

New Standard Models! Standard models for the popular Robotics Academy robots and PLTW Training Testbeds have been added, and can be used to automatically configure all of the motors and sensors, hassle free.

New and improved sample programs! New sample programs for the VEX Mecanum Wheels and Line Tracking Kit have been added. others have been improved.

You now have the ability to give your robot a custom name. This will be a crucial enhancement for competition teams, and should be helpful for classroom settings, too.

Written by Jesse Flot

January 13th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

ROBOTC version 3.05 has been released!

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Hi all,

We’ve just released ROBOTC 3.05. Head on over to the download pages to download the latest version!

Change log:

NXT:

  1. Allow “File Management” window to play multiple sound files and not just a single file.
  2. Fix bug in implementation of NXT intrinsic function “I2CGetSensorInfo”.
  3. Holding down gray EXIT button on NXT will now eventually power off the NXT.
  4. Re-enable support for “sendMessage” on NXT.
  5. Updated FTC Joystick Driver to include diagnostics and added a critical section around the “no joystick data” fields to prevent false starts.
  6. “DrawEllipse” was broken for emulator. ‘short’ variable was overflowing; ‘long’ was needed.
  7. Constant for total number of motors for Tetrix was incorrect (too small). Result is some user defined names for 12V Tetrix motors were not being defined. Applies when Tetrix motor controller was configured on sensor port S3 or S4. Now Fixed.
  8. Included range checking on game controller joystciks to fit in one byte. Few users reported errors about seeing 2-byte joystick values.

VEX:

  1. New Automatic Firmware Updater for VEX Cortex – Choose one menu option and ROBOTC takes care of the rest (putting into bootload/downloading both master and ROBOTC firmware)
  2. Updated installer to automatically install the VEX Cortex drivers and Prolific USB-to-Serial Drivers upon install.
  3. Updates to the RVW Natural Language files to include remote control and microcontroller button commands.
  4. New standard model files for PLTW Testbeds
  5. By default “Com Port lists” will not include all serial ports. They will only the ports that match the current platform/use selection. A registry preference (“Advanced Environment” tab) can be used to restore to the current (3.04 release) of including all ports.
  6. Updated Error Messages for Firmware/Program downloads.
  7. New Sample Programs for 4-motor joystick control.
  8. Added new variable “bStopTasksBetweenModes” to allow VEX users to disable the allTasksStop function from running between autonomous and teleop modes

General/Other:

  1. Compiler was not generating error when “typedef” variable was used in an expression. Fixed.
  2. ADD “__NAME__” to preprocessor predefined variables.
  3. Fix code generation bug for “const string” array variables. Compiler would incorrectly use empty string instead of reference to array variable in constant pool.
  4. Rightmost character of block of italic formatted source file had “slant” clipped by the background of the next block of text. Fixed.
  5. Expand opcodes for “shift left/right” to support ‘long’ variable as shift size amount.
  6. Fix definition of “degreesToRadians” intrinsic. It was not working when the parameter was a numeric constant.

Written by Vu Nguyen

January 13th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

ROBOTC 3.04 is now available!

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Hi all,

We’ve just released ROBOTC 3.04. Head on over to the download pages to download the latest version!

Change log:

  1. Fixed silent updater bug
  2. Modified sensor scale and full count settings for gyros for VEX PIC.
  3. Eliminated deprecated warning for “#pragma platform”. Remove warning on “#pragma competition”
  4. dited BuiltInVariables.txt to include Battery & Power Control category, including 3 new entries for VEX battery level.
  5. Added intrinsic to ROBOTCIntrinsics to return BackupBatterLevel value.
  6. Corrected BuiltInVariables.txt to prevent displayLCDPos from appearing in “Undefined Entries”
  7. Updated BuiltInVariables.txt to reflect additions to VEX Display commands
  8. Modified RobotCIntrinsics.c setLCDPos command to “setLCDPosition”
  9. Merge fixes from 32Bit branch for >160 subroutines.
  10. Rebuild VEX firmware files because they were out of date.
  11. Change text for button on VEX remote screen from “Enter” to “Center”.
  12. Support on Prolific cables for workaround to protocol errors for IFI defined special Cortex messages. Previously was only implemented on integrated USB-to-Serial.
  13. Correct incorrect code generation for a parameter “call by reference” variable which is itself a “call by reference” variable.
  14. Add new intrinsics for VEX LCD to specify line and char position of the “Put”. Add alias “setLCDPos” for “displayLCDPos”
  15. Bump version to 9.04 / 3.04. Rebuild firmware.
  16. Eliminate NXT EXE encrypted file headers. It causes a bug with >160 subroutines on NXT. Need to rebuild NXT firmware to support this change.
  17. When return statement from a “non void” function is unreachable because function contains an infinite loop compiler used to generate an error message that “No return statement from non-void function”. Now it generates a warning that an infinite loop prevents return.
  18. Timer values on VEX (and NXT) were incorrectly truncated to 16-bits instead of preserving the 32-bit value.
  19. Incorrect code generation for assignments when the expression is a compound expression and it uses an intrinsic function that refers to the ‘l-value” of the assignment.
  20. Fixed Licensing System but when deactivating any product but ROBOTC for Mindstorms and it was the only product in the list.
  21. Hid two options in the “NXT Brick” menu to prevent crashing when in RVW mode
  22. Fixed an issue where the “Toggle Comment” button may crash ROBOTC when used near the beginning and end of a file.
  23. Fixed an issue where the “View” menu on the NXT was displaying incorrect data with the NXT Encoders.
  24. You can now drag/drop files to the ROBOTC application and also associate .c and .h files with ROBOTC.

Written by Vu Nguyen

October 10th, 2011 at 4:05 pm