Archive for the ‘Robot Virtual Worlds’ Category
From Concept to Release: Creating a Level in the Robot Virtual Worlds Level Builder will take you through the entire design process for a Robot Virtual Worlds (RVW) level. The tutorial covers everything from object modification to the level builder’s main interface, and much more. The tutorial frames the creation of a level within a greater design process. It begins with the development of a first concept and goes all the way through planning, production, testing, the creation of instructions for the level, and finally, the level’s release to the public.
From Concept to Release is primarily intended as an aid to students and others participating in RVW level building competitions. These competitions, such as the Beacons and Barriers competition hosted on the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N), provide an excellent opportunity to teach the design process that is used in companies and organizations around the globe.
Putting level creation in the context of the design process is a splendid way to encourage good design technique. Planning, drafting, testing, editing, and documenting are all good habits to get into no matter what you are working on.
If you can’t access the link above, you can also find it on the RVW website under “Step 3” of the Level Builder.
Look out for an upcoming CS2N class that will expand upon the content within the tutorial!
Starting with ROBOTC 3.61 BETA, users now have the option to create custom joystick configurations inside of ROBOTC. This allows a wider variety of joysticks to be used with ROBOTC (such as the XBOX 360 controller) and also allows users to set custom configurations for existing controllers. This functionality can be used with the VEX Cortex, LEGO NXT/TETRIX, and Robot Virtual Worlds.
Watch our tutorial video to setup your joystick for ROBOTC:
The joystick settings are currently universal across all joysticks and changes made to one particular joystick’s configuration may not work for other joysticks.
Note that the custom controller configuration options cannot be used in an FTC competition, due to the way the Field Control System (FCS) handles joystick controls.
Every student who completes a ROBOTC Summer of Learning course will have the opportunity to take a ROBOTC Student Certification Exam! This certificate will represent a student’s programming and robot problem solving accomplishments.
Throughout the course, the student will earn badges as they successfully complete challenges. Each badge contains information to help others understand what a student knows: who awarded it, who recognizes it, when they earned it, links to example student code, their videos, their scores, the types of questions they answered, or other information designed to show off their accomplishments.
At the very end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take an exam. This certification exam will consist of 125 questions to be completed in 100 minutes. Students will need to earn a score of 70% or higher in order to earn the certification.
Every student enrolled in one of our Robotics Summer of Learning class will have the option of taking the ROBOTC for LEGO or the ROBOTC for VEX student certification exam. Sign up for a class today:
And don’t forget about our free ROBOTC live training, starting Monday, June 17th:
Starting Monday, June 17th, our free online classes will begin for the Robotics Summer of Learning. The ROBOTC team will show you the best ways to get started using ROBOTC and answer your questions LIVE! The goals for these classes is to support you, our users, and help you earn a ROBOTC certification!
The classes and Q&A sessions will take place throughout the summer on WebEx at the times listed below. The length of the class will be based on how many questions we need to answer.
How to Sign Up:
1. Register for Summer of Learning - Choose one of the following Robotics Summer of Learning Courses and sign up!
2. Choose a WebEx Course - Join your choice of WebEx courses 30 minutes before scheduled course begins:
If you would like to ask questions during the live class, make sure to have a USB headset. You can also submit your questions before and during each class through the ROBOTC forum or our social media sites.
Back in April, we gave you a sneak peak of our Multiplayer RVW Project. We’ve been hard at work implementing that functionality into the VEX Toss Up game, as well as adding additional features and improvements to the system. Check out this video for an updated sneak peak:
We’ve come a long way in our development, and we still have some tough challenges to solve that don’t exist in single player mode.
Which player “owns” which game objects?
It’s important that the location of all of the game objects is the same for all 4 players. For example, if one player moves a ball, that same movement should appear in all 4 different instances of the game. That means that (behind the scenes) the system needs to determine which instance of the game “talks” and which 3 instances “listen” about the position of the objects. There’s 28 objects in Toss Up to keep synchronized!
Effectively being able to communicate strategy
In the real-world version of these competitions, you can easily talk with members of the other team to convey your robot’s ability, desired starting point, gameplay tactics, and other useful pieces of information. This is a challenge in a virtual setting. We’ve implemented Chat functionality, with the ability to talk with just your partner, or all players. Making sure we have an adequate set of messages for clear communication will be key.
Synchronizing the Game Clock
In Single Player mode, you are in control of when the game clock starts. In Multiplayer mode, the player that created the room is in charge of when the match (and consequently game timer) start. For a fair experience, it’s crucial that everyone’s game clock starts and stops at exactly the same time, and that everyone has an adequate amount of time to get ready. We’ve implemented this with a “Ready” system, to let the player who created the room know when they can safely start, and added a countdown timer just in case any of the players weren’t quite ready yet. Sometimes data over the Internet is lost, and we don’t want someone at a disadvantage because their signal to start was lost, so we’ll be adding in extra synchronization checks for timer-related functionality.
Performance and Improvements
Rendering a single robot on a game field is similar to asking your computer to render a character and environment in a video game. Rendering four robots is even more resource intensive, so we’ll be optimizing the system as much as possible. To add to this, we’ll also be optimizing the amount of data traffic needed to keep all instances of a match synchronized, without using too much bandwidth.
Thanks for checking out our progress! We’ll continue to post updates about features and improvements as we add them, and be on the lookout for beta versions you can try later this summer!
We are very happy to announce the official prizes for the Robotics Summer of Learning competitions! We will be giving away VEX IQ and NXT Kits; ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds licenses; and two $1000 scholarships. There will be three competitions eligible for prizes: CS2N VEX Toss Up Challenge, CS2N FTC “Ring It Up!” Challenge, and Robot Virtual Worlds Beacons and Barriers.
Each competition will be broken up into three divisions. Each player is eligible for only one prize per competition. The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.
Competitions are open now, so sign up today!
- Middle School Division – 6th to 8th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
- High School Division - 9th to 12th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
- Open Division - Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Educators, Hobbyists, Everyone!
The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.
Start programming today for your chance at these awesome prizes!
Robot designed by Drew Ellis from The Noun Project and the Trophy is from The Noun Project.
ROBOTC is the premiere robotics programming language for educational robotics and competitions. ROBOTC is a C-Based Programming Language with an Easy-to-Use Development Environment. ROBOTC 3.61 contains three major updates, as shown in the changelog below.
You can download it here.
3.60 to 3.61 Changelog
- NEW Joystick Configuration Utility – Added compatibility for custom joystick configurations; the Joystick Configuration Utility can now be used to configure a wide variety of controllers for use with ROBOTC. Read about it on the Custom Joystick Controls page on the ROBOTC wiki!
- Fixed Samostat.c sample program – There was a typo in the ‘nxtDisplayTextLine(status.nLine, “%s”, status.message);’ line of the Samostat.c program in ROBOTC 3.60 that prevented it from working properly. This has been fixed in 3.61.
- Updated Robot Virtual Worlds Curriculum Companion Tables – ROBOTC now includes the latest update of the Curriculum Companion Tables which added Quality Control Settings and now provides Update Notifications as well. Find out more about recent RVW updates here.
Get ready to create all new levels in the Robot Virtual Worlds’ Level Builder! Sign up for Beacons and Barriers, the Robotics Summer of Learning level design competition.
Beacons and Barriers is a design competition primarily intended for kids aged 12-18, but open to all, that is focused on creating fun and challenging levels using the Robot Virtual Worlds’ (RVW) Level Builder and Model Importer. In addition, the participants will write a succinct and easy to read set of instructions for completing the level. The competition is hosted online at the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N).
This competition offers a unique opportunity for students to create levels and get feedback from their peers. They will also give feedback on their peers’ work. Everyone learns not only how to evaluate projects logically, but also how to effectively communicate their assessment.
Entries will be judged based upon their difficulty, uniqueness, length, and fun factor. Their instructions will be judged on their ease of comprehension and grammatical correctness. The project’s final score for the competition will be based on the scores given by their peer reviewers.
There will be three divisions for this competition: Middle School, High School, and Open. The top five in each division will win the prizes listed below. Students in Middle School and High School who place in the top five will need to submit verification from their school about the grade they will be entering in for the 2013-2014 school year. The top entries from the competition will also be highlighted in a blog post after the competition, and the 1st place level will be posted on future CS2N Level building competitions as a benchmark for success.
Registration for the Beacons and Barriers level building challenge is available now, and is open to all members of the CS2N community.
Registering is easy:
1. Visit the Beacons and Barriers Main Page
2. Login to your account or register for CS2N.
3. Click on the box under “Step 1: Register.”
The final level file and instructions are due by August 31st, 2013. Don’t forget to look at the rubric that your level and instructions will be evaluated on. The files must be submitted in a zipped folder containing the .rvl file for your level and either a .pdf, .rtf, or .txt file that contains your instructions.
If you have any questions, whether it is about the RVW level editor, the competition, or how to do things like zip files, create pdfs, and so on, send your question to CS2N through “Contact Us”
We’ll do our best to respond to your question as soon as possible.
Remember: The competition does not end with the submission of files. Participants must grade and give feedback on other projects during the first two weeks of September (September 1st until September 14th, 2013). Each participant will have 5 other projects that they must review and give feedback. Participants will not be able to win prizes if they do not complete their evaluations. After the evaluation period ends, participants may choose to give their evaluators feedback on how useful their evaluation was.
The final winners of the competition will be announced on October 1st, 2013
We continue the new section to our blog called Teacher’s POV (Point of View) with another post by Jason McKenna, a K-8 Gifted Support Teacher in the Hopewell Area School District outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He took the time to give some examples of how you can use Robot Virtual Worlds in your classroom.
Robot Virtual Worlds is a powerful tool to teach ROBOTC to students. The unofficial motto for Robot Virtual Worlds is “No Robot, no problem.” That is absolutely true. If you are just starting a robotics program, or if your budget just can’t handle the cost of physical robots, Robot Virtual Worlds is a powerful tool for teachers.
However, the use of Robot Virtual Worlds is not just limited to replacing physical robots. Even if you have dozens of physical robots at your disposal, Robot Virtual Worlds can still be a powerful addition to your curriculum. Here are some examples:
- Differentiating Instruction. One of the hardest things for a teacher to do is to teach to where each individual student currently is in the curriculum. Robot Virtual Worlds allows teachers to do this. Let’s say you have a student that is struggling to learn some of the beginning ROBOTC concepts and another that is breezing through the curriculum. With Robot Virtual Worlds, you can easily create a challenge for each student. Creating a challenge for a student is easy. A new challenge can always be created in the Robot Virtual World Level Builder. Additionally, if students are working in Palm Island or Operation Reset, one student can program their robot to make turns while using timing, and the student that is progressing faster can be shown how to use the Gyro Sensor. In this manner, a teacher can differentiate instruction within the SAME lesson. That is the goal for all educators, and it can be achieved easily with Robot Virtual Worlds. To use another example, let’s say a student quickly solves a basic movement challenge (ex. Robot Slalom) with a physical robot. Instead of having to wait for the rest of the class to finish, that student can use the Curriculum Companion Pack to solve the same challenge virtually. Only now, the student can use encoder values to move precise distances, instead of just timing.
- Teaching to Mastery. Because Robot Virtual Worlds allows you to teach programming concepts faster (Physical vs Virtual Programming Fall 2012 Study Results), it also affords teachers the opportunity to present more repeated practice to the students. Missions in both Operation Reset and Palm Island reinforce all of the fundamentals of programming that are found in the ROBOTC Curriculum. For instance, if a student has just learned how to line follow with their physical robot, they can then complete missions in both Operation Reset and Palm Island that also require line following.
- Introduction to New Students. As teachers, our days are filled with the unexpected. One of the most challenging surprises is when you are told that you will have a new student in class because the student just moved to your district. Your class is 3 or 4 months into the ROBOTC curriculum, and your new student has no experience with ROBOTC at all. Here is where the Robot Virtual Worlds came be a lifesaver. Instead of having the student jump into whatever challenge the students are doing with physical robots, the student can watch the lessons from the ROBOTC Curriculum and complete the challenges in the Curriculum Companion Pack. After the student has begun to learn some of basics of ROBOTC, he/she can be introduced to the challenge that the rest of class is working on.
- Beginning of the School Year. When students return from summer break, some will have retained all or most of what was taught to them the previous year. Others will have retained far less. With this example, Robot Virtual Worlds can be used as a pre-assessment that can then be used to help direct that teacher’s instruction. For example, a teacher can create a challenge in the Robot Virtual World Level Builder that asks the students to utilize different programming concepts. By doing this, a teacher can see what skills need to be reviewed and what skills the students have retained. This is a tremendous time-saver. Most teachers work under the assumption that they had better review everything before moving on to a new concept. Using a pre-assessment eliminates this need. Robot Virtual Worlds are a perfect fit for this pre-assessment.
- Robot Virtual Worlds Levels Builder. This is a great tool for, once again, those unexpected occurrences in the classroom. Let’s say you you’ve been pulled into a meeting without a previous notice. A substitute has been sent to your class for coverage. You’re a little hesitant to let the students practice with the physical robots because the students are just beginning and the sub will not be able to answer any of their questions. You don’t have time to introduce a challenge in one of the Virtual Worlds; therefore, you quickly tell the students to open the Levels Builder and tell them to create challenges for each other. The students are now engaged and busy, and you can proceed to your meeting.
Those are 5 quick ways that Robot Virtual Worlds can be a big help for any teacher, not matter how many physical robot a teacher may or may not have. Robot Virtual Worlds are not just a replacement for physical robots, they are a tremendous asset in and of themselves.
Unsure what Robot Virtual Worlds is? Check out this video …
Thank you, Jason! If you are a teacher who would like to share your experiences on our blog, send us an email to email@example.com.
We designed the RVW Model Importer so students and teachers can expand upon the learning already going on in their classrooms. We released the first version with support for importing Stereolithography format (.STL) files because these allowed models to be made using the engineering industry-standard Autodesk Inventor and Solidworks solid modeling software packages already used in many classrooms. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a universally-supported format for 3D models, so, while we hope to release support for more formats in the future, we knew we were excluding some powerful and easy to use tools.
One of these was SketchUp, an easy-to-learn 3D modeling program originally created by Google and now developed by Trimble. (We like it enough that we even made a set of introductory tutorials.) Thus, we were happy to discover there’s now a plugin for SketchUp that allows models to be exported as STL files. Here’s a set of instructions to get you started. These were developed using SketchUp 8, but should work as well using newer versions.
- Make sure you are logged in on your computer as a user account with Administrator privileges.
- If you don’t already have it installed, download and install SketchUp. You can get started learning how to model either using our tutorials on CS2N or the Getting Started guide developed by Trimble.
- Download the plugin file from https://github.com/SketchUp/sketchup-stl/raw/master/sketchup-stl-1.0.0.rbz.
- Open SketchUp, then open the Window menu and choose Preferences, then select the Extensions page.
- Click the Install Extension button and select the plugin file you downloaded in step 2.
- A popup window will appear asking you to confirm that you want to install the extension. Click Yes.
- If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you may need to allow SketchUp to make changes to your system when prompted.
- Click OK in the popup telling you the plugin has been installed. Confirm that the checkbox next to the STL Import/Export plugin is checked, then click OK to close the preferences window.
If you’re looking for models to experiment, look no further than SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse: open the File menu, then 3D Warehouse, and select Get Models.
To export a model as an STL file in SketchUp:
- Activate the Select tool by clicking the pointer icon on the toolbar or by opening the Tools menu and clicking Select.
- Click on the model in the scene you want to export. A blue box will appear around it.
- Open the File menu and choose Export STL.
- Name the exported file and click Save.
- A popup will appear telling you how many faces and lines have been exported. This lets you know that the export process has finished.
You now have an STL file you can use with the RVW Model Importer. Check out the Model Importer overview video for directions:
At this time, there is a limit to the complexity of models that RVW can use. If when importing you get a message that says “Mesh could not be reduced enough to be compatible with RVW,” you’ll have to make a simpler version.