pic: 5th Gear Teaser

We plan to release Rev 0 of 5th Gear Breakaway this weekend. Stay tuned.

Here is where you can stay tuned:
The FIRST 5th Gear Forum is here: http://forums.usfirst.org/forumdisplay.php?f=1091
The CD 2010 5th Gear thread is here: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79796

Awesome, something to do while waiting for parts to come in!

…octagonal robot? o_0

Ahh… GDC hints, 5th Gear hints… head explodes

I see two bumps, though I’m not sure why one is bigger than the other.


I wish they could make 5th gear more available to more regionals.

Two replies

  1. Yes, yes, yes - We agree! :slight_smile:

  2. Which Regionals will your team attend this year?

Yep - I admit the picture isn’t much of a tease - If you saw the Tumbleweed in action during the Overdrive season you have a good shot at guessing this picture.

Warning - Long post follows:

While you are waiting for the those parts to come in; here is a suggestion - Draw your own (simple) bot to install into the 5th Gear gallery of robot selections.

I/we should have the time to plug a few of the sexier ones folks send me into the simulator (and it won’t be too hard to be sexier than the simple ones I drew :)).

The lowest risk method is to send me the robot model as one single SolidWorks part (not an assembly, not an assembly converted into a part, not two or more parts, but a single part from inception to completion) (yes - I know that is a horrible way to do CAD, but this is a special circumstance). I will then convert it into a Collada file and then convert that into an FBX file.

If you care to create a Collada file, that is the equivalent of converting a single “part” into a Collada, I can try converting your Collada file into an FBX.

If you care to create an FBX that is the equivalent of going through the steps outlined above, we can try using your FBX.

However, if you submit either a Collada or an FBX, the physics half of creating a model in the simulator will cause us to put those submissions into the time-consuming pile - See below.

Getting or creating an FBX file will let us draw (in the simulation) the 3D picture of your submission. That is good, but it is only half of our job. We will also need to define a simple 3D border/envelop around it to use for the collision detection and similar steps in the PhysX physics calculations.

If you send me a single SolidWorks Part, then I can easily use SolidWorks to draw a rough approximation of your submission to use for the physics. If you send me a Collada or an FBX, then I/we have to sort-of manually guess at the locations (in simulator coordinates) of the envelop. It won’t be truly manual guessing, but it will be tedious…

Please, draw your bots so that the Top View in SolidWorks really shows me the top, the Front View really shows me the front, etc. Also, please put the origin in the bottom left corner of the robot when it is seen using SolidWorks “top” view.

If you do give us a Collada or FBX, please use units of meters. Meters are what come out of our SolidWorks to Collada converter (even though I draw the SolidWorks part using inches), and you need to be consistent with that.

Finally, if you submit something that uses smooth curves, has more nooks and crannies than an english muffin, and consequently requires ten zillion vertices and triangles to represent it in Collada or FBX format, then ordinary computers won’t be able to draw it fast enough for the 5th Gear simulator to operate well (or at all) in real-time with 6 players.

5th Gear is run on very ordinary computers with ordinary CPUs and ordinary (or worse than ordinary :)) graphics cards/GPUs. Part of your challenge is preserving the style of the robot you are modeling while also keeping the drawing simple. For example, in the default models that will ship with the initial downloadable simulation, I used good-enough 12-sided polygons instead of circles, and I created good-enough bumpers by shaving the corners off of rectangles.

So… Do I have any takers? - If you want to cook something up and send it to me in a PM or by using the email info in my signature below, please do. When you do also tell me a little about its functions (top speed, bump climbing ability, # of kickers, kick distances, ability to aim/steer kicks, drive train style, etc.) I can’t promise that we can incorporate every model we get; but we can certainly pull in a few. Who knows, your model might become the favorite during the exhibitions and informal tournaments at the FRC Regional Tournaments and the Championships.


675 is attending SVR and SAC

Yellow Robot (with blue “go-faster” stripes marking the front side of its top), surrounded by blue bumpers.

We are expanding the number of locations where Lockheed Martin is sponsoring exhibits.

We can’t promise yet, but one result might be that we (Lockheed Martin employees/volunteers) might be able to offer a 5th Gear exhibit to the SVR. If we are able to, then the Regional Director and the venue get to decide if they can accommodate it. Keep your fingers crossed.

Also, and this is a big “also”, any team or other group can choose to set-up a 5th Gear exhibit anywhere they can scrape together 7 computers, an Ethernet hub/switch, and 6 Xbox controllers.

You get to download the executable. If necessary, you get to ask us as many questions as you like about how to set it up or use it, and when you are done, you get to brag in your next Chairmans Award submission about supplying a service to the public.

You can also think about doing this when recruiting new members, or when doing community outreach or fundraising (it’s hard to install a field and 6 robots in a school or local mall, but it is pretty easy to set up a couple of tables and 7 computers there).

Hopefully, we will see you at SVR.


Seriously? Nifty.

Wish Inventor exported as FBX (or rather I wish I had SolidWorks and knew how to use it). Would be quite fun to practice driving before the robot is done being built even if it is 100% accurate.

Any plans in some-far off future to add ability for users to “plug-in” their own bots?


I just have to say you are my hero for the day. So much good and helpful information in one post. I’m so STOKED!

See my long-winded post #7 below.

Our hearts are in the right place, and our heads and hands are trying to keep up. :slight_smile:

There are some tedious parts to setting up a sane user interface that can import models on the fly during an exhibit, and there are some complicating factors (like not slowing to a crawl when a model is too complex for the equipment trying to simulate it, and limiting users to single “part” models right now).

Like you guys, we are right now dealing with getting a useful 2010 product done before build season is over, while also adding a bell or whistle here and there. Importing users’ models is one of those bells and whistles.

Even last year you could import an FBX file to get your imagery into the simulator (and you still can this year). The trick is automagically wrapping an accurate-enough, but not too complex, invisible physics-model around the graphics. That remains in our hands…

Stay in touch, and find a way to get your Inventor file exported (look for plug-ins) (FBX is definitely a format Autodesk knows and loves so there “must” be a way to do it); or download a student version of SolidWorks (search in Chief Delphi for instructions or contact mplanchard via a Chief Delphi PM), and learn just enough to import Inventor files and then save them as a SolidWorks part. I’ll try to get the result into the simulator.

Remember to do the equivalent of creating a single part when doing your work in Inventor.


And that is why we all love the hard fun of robotics - thank you, and you are welcome.

Because there is no real reward in winning if you haven’t done everything possible thing to make your team the best it can be. It’s an awesome thing

I know the feeling. Do what you guys can, but I think whatever you guys come out with will be something useful to teams. Figure out some strategy in real time against other humans.

[random thought]

Any plans on doing a multiplayer over the internet? That would be pretty neat , and allow for some “research” on strategy/fun without lugging over a few computers. Just something else to add to a probably already long list of “to-do’s”.

A friend of mine asked for a FBX model of some models I made in Inventor, and the only way I could figure out how is to download this Inventor Studio or something of that sort (for like creating nice-pretty display pictures). I’ll have to do some more research on it now that this opportunity is open. I’d be pretty neat. If not, I’ll learn something new.

Thanks for the messages!

Any chance of a 5th gear booth at CT? I’m assuming it will be at the Championship again.

Multiplayer over the internet is something I’ve been playing with using stuff like LogMeIn Hamachi. I don’t know much about networking, but I’ve used it to play Pokemon cards over the internet, so it could work with 5th Gear’s LAN features too. Someone bored with free time should PM me :slight_smile:

I might play with Inventor to make a robot model but I probably wouldn’t make one particularly good anyway.

Undiscovered Dharma Initiative station logo?

See Post #23

See Post # 23