FRC Simulators (That still work)

Hey Delphi,

I have a group of friends, most of which are alum at this point, who get together and play the old Catalyst 2012 xbox game in a tournament-style setting, complete with live rankings, alliance selections, and eliminations.

Well, 2012 is starting to get a little stale, and we’re trying to find a different FRC sim to play (we’ll probably move to PC). Any suggestions? We need at least 2v2 multiplayer, a decent variety of viable strategies to keep it interesting, and graphics past a 1997 computer modeling class.

I don’t know of any current FRC sims that have multiplayer. But there was/is a game for Xbox? Now I’ll have to buy a used 360 just to play it!

It’s an indie game, I think it was $3 or so.

BXD Synthesis is looking solid, no multiplayer yet, or really any video game like features though.

You might be able to revive one of the Fifth Gear match simulators.

They were 6-player 3v3 simulations for PCs in LAN


I remember playing that many moons ago for Logomotion. Actually, not only that, I remember events having demos of the game where people could come up and play. Do you have any resources or places I could start to see if any copies or links still exist?

+1. This sounds awesome.

I found the download page for 5th Gear, installed it and ran it. But I could only get to the main menu because the actual simulator requires PhysX, and I have an AMD card.

Edit: I got a PhysX installer here, but it seems that you have to have a dedicated server to play.

Edit2: I was able to run a server and a player at the same time on the same computer, but neither would show a field. Not sure what to do from here.

If you’re looking for retro, here’s the 2004 game:

I think it’s single player only, and remember, this was from more than a decade ago.


I’ve been planning to begin working on a replacement (6th Gear). If I get some time in the next few days, I’ll take a shot at reviving a copy of one of the 5th Gear versions (BTW - each year was different (evolving) code, not just different config data).

There should be more than one year floating around WPI or some other location.

Wish me luck.

PS: Once you get a server and client communicating with one another, the client should be offering you a chance to choose an alliance and a robot, and the server should be showing that the clients are doing that.
PPS: I vaguely remember that there was a wee bit of config data that told the server and clients how to find each other, and that there should be done installation instructions on the same site(s) as the executable(s). Did you find any instructions?


At the top right of the WPI page where you downloaded the executables, there is also a link for downloading a Word doc with instructions for starting a server and client. Are you attempting to carry out those instructions and never seeing anything more than a blank screen?


I got them to connect and start the match, but all I get is a blue screen with a scoreboard. When I press keys the name will move very slightly.
Edit: I hooked up an Xbox controller and now I can “drive” the name around.

Server is on top, client on bottom.

If you are looking for something for practice driving a robot, rather than a specifically FRC simulator, Geometry wars on steam has been recommended to me by a mentor.


In a wild guess, Captain Obvious is guessing that the software for creating a match and simulating the progress of the match worked (maybe), but that rendering the field, game pieces, and robot graphics/models failed. In other words, you have invisible physics models playing on an invisible field; but you don’t have the visible graphics that are supposed to be shown at the virtual locations reported by the physics models.

That might be fixable by switching to backlevel libraries or by supplying new graphics models.

If I could remember how to activate the slick debugging features Dave Stevens put into the code (6-8 years ago)(using Lua and some other tricks), we could test my guess by seeing if we could get wireframe outlines of the physics models to appear. I sent Dave an email today, asking if he can dredge up any memories. Maybe his supply of memberries is fresher than mine.

PS: If you are wondering why I don’t just look through the old code… Well, what we developed contained intellectual property that belonged to the folks who partially paid for developing it, and I didn’t get to take any of the code with me when I left those folks, and moved on to greener pastures.

Dave replied and told me that he couldn’t get the old code to work either.

His guesses at the root causes were similar to mine. Software tends to corrode/erode over time in the sense that as libraries, APIs, device-drivers, etc. evolve, both their interfaces and implementations change, and … if only one bit in one part of the entire system becomes incompatible with the rest … the result can turn into driving a label around on a blue screen.

Sorry, but for now we may have to relegate the Fifth Gear simulators to the bone yard. Maybe some day someone will be able to pull a copy of the source code out of the repository we were using, and revive them for a nostalgia-fest.


I’ve gotten 5th Gear to work as recently as a few months ago. Let me give it another try in a couple of days and I’ll try and help out.

Once you do get it working, it’s not without a few bugs and problems. 2009 and 2011 are not all that playable. Luckily, the 2011 version implements 2008 and 2010, but not the same as it used to (most notably, objects that leave the playing field stay off the field). Still fun for the occasional game or two when you want to kill time driving a robot.

Other than that, the only simulators still working are Catalyst 2012 if you have an Xbox 360 with it installed, or team-made simulators from 2014 to 2016 (granted, many of these are fun, I just have trouble consistently finding them). I think the 3539 simulator for 2016 was the most fun, and 4481 had a cool one for 2015 as well.

Chris is being kind.

There were plenty of bugs, and twitchy behaviors in each version.

If I am able to create new versions, I plan to use 20/20 hindsight to emphasize drive-ability (and a few openness features) in the Physics from day one. In Fifth Gear, some early compromises (made for good reasons at the time) plagued us throughout the life of the project

Also, to add some background, fun was only one of our goals. I first proposed creating a simulator in order to help teams better understand the how matches would play out in real life (To help answer questions like, “How much time does it take to do task X when a defender is in your way?” Etc.). That we were also producing a little entertainment was a nice bonus.

And, if it turned out along the way that most of our users were looking for entertainment, that would be OK. It would simply be a reminder of the difference between ivory tower opinions about how the world should work, and the way the real world actually works. :smiley: