Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features
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Author:  blazemaguire [ Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features


Starting a thread that others might like to add to in the hope that the developers might read and include ideas.

I'm a Teacher (from UK) and we've just brought 8 Vex IQ Clawbot super kits. The Robot's are fab in principle, but I'm getting frustrated by minor niggles with the RobotC and virtual worlds software that are making them very hard to use in an educational environment (which I thought was the whole point of this software!)

1) Firmware within RobotC - Why does this need to seemingly be updated repeatedly on the same robot? surely it should just need to be done the once? is this just me?! We have 20 PCs all running RobotC. The students obviously share the 8 robots amongst themselves while attempting the programming challenges I set them. For no good reason the robot will work on one PC, then when transferred to another PC, refuse to download the program until a firmware download/refresh is done. This is not very 'kid friendly' and causes a lot of wasted time in the lesson while they sit there confused until I can get to help them.

It's a good job I'm tech savvy as well, because this whole system has required much time spent updating firmware (with the vex IQ firmware updater) and plugging various sensors in and out of various ports because a colour sensor thought it was a gyro etc etc) - My Colleagues without technical backgrounds don't stand a chance.

2) Virtual worlds level builder. My IT guy has logged this with support WHY for the love of god can I not have an option to chose the default folder for the level editors levels folder i.e, a location on our schools student shared access network drive. We have a network like any other school, with communal PCs, like any other school, Yet virtual worlds install creates a folder in each students logon, within 'my documents' with the default levels only.

As a teacher, I brought virtual worlds and thought, Great, I can build my own virtual levels that mimic the layout of the classroom, obstacles on the floor etc so the kids can program either virtually, or with the real robots if there is one free.
For the kids to play the levels I have designed, I find I need to install my levels into every students documents folder for every log in account! Not smart.

I thought another idea would be to put the levels in a communal place on the shared 'student drive' that they could browse to, but the file browser built into virtual worlds is horrendous and clunky. The kids genuinely find it difficult to navigate and often just get confused and give up.

If I could just set the software to point to network location when it starts it would save me hours and a lot of headaches

The only solution I have at the moment is to copy all of my levels into each students 'levels' folder in their documents. - Imagine the extra network storage space wasted by all 350 students per year group copying the same 10 level files to their user spaces, rather than just having the software load up a shared folder on a network. Not only that, the kids struggle with finding and copying the files as well, so I end up doing it... wasting more time.

3) Why can't the Turn Right / Turn Left function in graphical have an easy option to turn by 90 degrees of Gyro sensor reading?
With younger students, they cannot understand the concept of RESET GYRO, TURN ONE MOTOR BACKWARD, ONE FORWARD, WAIT UNTIL GYRO==90,STOP MOTORS just for something as simple as turning perfectly left or right.

Could the above code routine just be automated so that a kid can drag a 'turn by angle' command. specify an angle and all the gyro gubbins is handled behind the scenes? Obviously, the more in depth method can be taught later when students have grasped the basics and got enthused.
The current turning by 'degrees' just turns the motor shaft (axle) by the degrees specified.... this also confuses the kids, because they see: TURN RIGHT: 90 DEGREES: SPEED 50 and expect the robot to turn a full 90 degrees... instead the motor does a little wobble and nothing happens.

As all the clawbots come with a gyro sensor... why can this not be an option in the supposedly kid friendly 'graphical' mode?

4) Why can you not copy and paste chunks of RobotC Graphical? - A lot of typical programs have bits that are repetitions of previous code with only parameters changed. Copy and paste would save so much time, and allow more learning and progression to happen in less time.

Sorry for the semi-rant, but software and computers are supposed to be tools to increase our productivity, and in my industry, rate of students learning.
I'm finding a large part of my lessons time is wasted because of the above issues. Time that could be better spent if the software could be reworked

As a teacher, I need things that save time when teaching this stuff and make it simple. My 2nd lesson of delivering this was spent running round sorting out IT issues to do with the above problems, rather than being able to help the kids program the robots.

As great as software is, it was still expensive. I don't think a lot of thought has been given to it's implementation in a mass classroom environment.

Anyway, that's my wish list.

Anyone else?

Author:  blazemaguire [ Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features

I'll add to my own list:

(bit lonely here isn't it?)

* Can the default playing area in level builder be changeable? Why is 12ftx12ft the maximum?

* Could there be an option for metric measurements? Only the US still uses imperial measurements, and it doesn't match with our measure system, further confusing kids and making it harder to construct custom levels.

Author:  lcarrozza [ Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features


Thank you for the feedback on the level builder. I will add these points to our feature request list.

I will pass your other points to our ROBOTC support team.

Thanks, Lee

Author:  dereksc [ Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features

Me too, is a teacher, in CHINA. Just began to explore level builder.
Great tools for teaching, but copying is really a much bothering job for each student.
By the way, I dont know if there is a way to change the default size of the play ground.

Author:  marco_miranda [ Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features


I'm a trainer from Philippines but currently working here in Malaysia to do teacher training for Robotics curriculum.

I'm a big fan of Robot Virtual Worlds specifically Level Builder and Model Importer so I would like include some of my wishlist on the next version.
1. It would be better if the challenge field can be adjustable and not limited to 12ftx12ft.

2. Include additional features such as randomizing the position of the objects, starting position of the robot and incorporating time. I have completed most of the activities in the Challenge Pack of EV3 and VEX and It would be best if what ever challenges that is inside the challenge pack can be modified using Level Builder.

3. Incorporate badges in Level Builder. For my students displaying "success" makes them happy but would it be even nicer if they achieve success and earn badges at the same time? For example, I'm teaching Ultrasonic Sensor and I would create a series of activities to drill the students. Each activities are incorporated with badges and if they can accomplish the Final Challenge for Ultrasonic Sensor they would earn the Ultrasonic Sensor "Gold" badge :D

4. In Model Importer, we have found out that the "success" or goal is determined depending on the collider of an object. However, I would like to try other things such as delivering two objects in one area or placing an object on top of another object before displaying the "success"? Will this be possible?

Anyhow, this are just my wishlist for the next version and I'm still very thankful for bringing us Robot Virtual Worlds and Level Builder as simple as it can be.



Author:  lcarrozza [ Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Level Builder / virtual worlds suggested features

Again, thank you for the feedback. Our team really appreciates your suggestions, and are always wanting to know how we can improve our product for you. All of your points will be taken into consideration for future updates.

Thanks, Lee

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