ROBOTC on a Mac
This guide will walk you through setting up an existing virtual machine for use with ROBOTC. The following guide is specifically for Parallels, VMWare Fusion, and BootCamp, but the setting adjustments can also be applied to other virtual machine software as well.
Using a Virtual Machine
A virtual machine is a piece of software that allows one operating system to run 'virtually' and simultaneously inside of another operating system. For the purposes of this guide, we will be running a Windows operating system virtually inside of a Mac operating system. Because the computer is essentially running two operating systems at the same time, the hardware requirements for programs run inside of the 'guest' operating system (in this case, Windows 7) are higher than normal because the computer must also dedicate resources to the 'host' operating system (in this case, Mac OSX).
One important rule to remember; the more resources one operating system is using at one time, the less the other operating system will have to work with. There are many factors that should be accounted for when determining how much of each resource (CPU cores, RAM, and GPU) should be allocated to each operating system, so there may be some tweaking required in order to find a solution that works for your particular setup.
Also note that the virtual machine must be shut down before any changes to its allocated resources can be made.
Codeweaver's Crossover should not be used to run ROBOTC, as it does not support Windows Device Drivers (which are required for most microcontrollers to communicate with a computer). For see here for more information on this issue
1) First, install a Windows virtual machine in Parallels if you have not done so already. When prompted, be sure to select the 'Run like a PC' option instead of the 'Run like a Mac' option.
2) Once the Windows virtual machine installation is completed, plug the robot into the computer via a USB port, turn it on, and select the 'Windows' option when the 'New USB Device Detected' window appears. If you accidentally select the 'Mac' option, please follow step 2.5 below.
2.5) If you selected the 'Mac' option on the 'New USB Device Detected' window, you will need to navigate to the 'Devices -> USB' menu and select your platform's option. A check mark by its name notes that it is being used by the Windows virtual machine (desired).
3) Download and install the latest version of ROBOTC from the ROBOTC downloads page using the virtual machine's web browser. During installation ROBOTC will attempt to install the correct drivers for the robotics platform that is plugged into the Mac. Once the installation is complete, verify the drivers were installed properly by checking the Windows Device Manager.
4) If the device drivers did not install properly, you may need to download and install them separately. You can download the NXT drivers directly from the LEGO Education support page and the VEX Cortex/PIC drivers directly from the VEX Downloads Wiki page.
1) The first settings you will need to change are the number of CPU cores being used and the amount of RAM being used by the Virtual Machine. These settings can be found under the Settings -> Processor and Memory menu option.
2) From our testing, we found the minimal settings were at least 2 CPU cores and 2 GB (2048 MB) of RAM allocated to the virtual machine. The more RAM and CPU cores you can dedicate to the guest OS (without starving the host), the better the virtual machine will run. With our setup, we were able to dedicate 4 CPU cores and 4GB of RAM to the virtual machine without starving the host OS.
3) Next, you will need to turn on 3D acceleration (DirectX) and increase the Video Memory settings; these changes can be made through the Display option from the 'Settings' menu (see Step 1). Simply move the slider to the 'On' position to enable 3D Graphics Acceleration. Please note that the Robot Virtual Worlds is a 3D simulation software and does have minimum recommended specifications that will need to be met in order to work properly.
4) Finally, start up the virtual machine. VMTools is installed automatically when the virtual machine is created, but if you are experiencing slow performance you may want to reinstall the tools manually. This is done through the 'Virtual Machine -> Install VMware Tools' menu option. If VMTools is already installed, you can skip to Step 6 of the guide.
5) This will start the installation of the VMware Tools (which installs like a normal Windows program).
6) You will now be able to Getting Started with ROBOTC. If you experience slow or erratic behavior, adjust the hardware settings and check to make sure that no background programs or processes could be using any of the valuable resources.
Using Boot Camp to run ROBOTC in a Windows environment is very similar to running ROBOTC in a normal Windows environment. Because the Windows Operating System is installed to the hard drive (instead of being emulated in a Mac OS), you will be able to follow the Getting Started with ROBOTC guide to set up ROBOTC and the required drivers in Boot Camp.