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  • EV3 programming game

    I’m excited to announce the release of a new EV3 programming game for Apple devices, called Fix EV3 Rover. Based on my experience as summer camp robotics instructor and FLL coach, this game is designed with FLL in mind. It teaches kids how to use the top ten EV3 commands that I consider to be most useful when preparing for FLL competitions. Anyone interested in learning or practicing FLL-relevant EV3 programming on their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac can download this free game here. Coaches interested in seeing how this game relates to FLL can read about it here.

    Dave Offen, Senior Software Engineering Consultant and veteran FLL coach
    www.doffen.org

  • #2
    Re: EV3 programming game

    Downloaded it on my iPhone, and I enjoy the simplicity! This will definitely be a good intro for new team members.
    Coach, FLL Team 3146 Peace By Piece 2013 - 2016; Team 29410 The Dragon Bots 2016-2018
    Judge, FTC 2014-2015; Field Technical Advisor, FTC 2016-2018; Robot Inspector, FRC 2018

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    • #3
      Re: EV3 programming game

      I recently downloaded it as well and tried the first two levels. It's good yet simplistic (as shelbydavis pointed out). That's not a BAD thing. We have some Jr members of our team and my 7 year old daughter (nearly 8) is joining the team in a year. Having them go through the exercises will help them think about how to logically get the robot to do what it needs to do to solve concrete missions.

      My daughter saw it and excitedly said "Its Programming!". Her next comment was "I dont know what a revolution is". Same question I get from all of our first year team members. After a quick explanation she was diving in.

      One point of confusion that my 10 year old son had when he first looked at it, was the placement of the robot after failing a mission. It is shown where it ended up after the failure. He thought he had to program it from there and erased what he had coded. I thought the same thing on my first attempt. Maybe consider resetting the board somehow so its clear that the user starts over. Of course you realize this after playing once, but resetting it might help younger users. On the other hand, NOT resetting it will force them to another level of abstract thinking, so take my comment as for what its worth to you.

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      • #4
        Re: EV3 programming game

        Originally posted by cschaffer View Post
        One point of confusion that my 10 year old son had when he first looked at it, was the placement of the robot after failing a mission. It is shown where it ended up after the failure. He thought he had to program it from there and erased what he had coded. I thought the same thing on my first attempt. Maybe consider resetting the board somehow so its clear that the user starts over. Of course you realize this after playing once, but resetting it might help younger users. On the other hand, NOT resetting it will force them to another level of abstract thinking, so take my comment as for what its worth to you.
        I think not resetting the board is the better way to go. That way you can see where the robot ended up and can think about either the next step you need to add or where you went wrong and what you need to change. It's similar to in the real world not picking the robot up right away when it finishes a mission but leaving it there so that everyone has a chance to look at it and think about what changes might need to be made to the program to correct the final position.

        One thing it might be nice to add is the ability to step through one block at a time. Especially for younger/less experienced programmers that might help reinforce exactly what each block does and help them think through a program in more step-by-step fashion (like a flow-chart or pseudo-code method for us old school programmers).
        --
        Fort Worth Robotics - North Texas Region Team #455
        Technical coach, baker of the cookies, keeper of the time, transporter of the travel field walls, finder of the spare parts, maker of the pop culture references that only the other tall people understand.

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        • #5
          Re: EV3 programming game

          Maybe a ghosted out image of the previous run would work as a reminder of where the robot got last run.
          Coach, FLL Team 3146 Peace By Piece 2013 - 2016; Team 29410 The Dragon Bots 2016-2018
          Judge, FTC 2014-2015; Field Technical Advisor, FTC 2016-2018; Robot Inspector, FRC 2018

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          • #6
            Re: EV3 programming game

            Originally posted by shelbydavis View Post
            Maybe a ghosted out image of the previous run would work as a reminder of where the robot got last run.
            or even a start over dialog window that pops up in an area not blocking the screen.

            Another intentional design decision that I'm not sure I like is how the app cancels out a program after running into a mistake.
            I thought it would be cool to see if I could program an entire mission through 4 major checkpoints before running the robots even once. I made it through the first checkpoint and the robot hit a wall. The app highlighted the step where the issue occurred (which is cool), but then erased all of the code after that step that dealt with milestones 2-4. Had it not erased the later steps, all I would have needed to do to fix the existing code would be to adjust the number of rotations on one step. Seeing 3/4 of my code erased almost made me stop using the app for good. My fun in challenging myself was gone.
            Erasing after an error might be good for a beginner. Others that understand the logical steps to get a job done would be likely to put a few/a lot together before running it. Same thing happens in EV3 programming.

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            • #7
              Re: EV3 programming game

              Originally posted by cschaffer View Post
              Another intentional design decision that I'm not sure I like is how the app cancels out a program after running into a mistake.
              I thought it would be cool to see if I could program an entire mission through 4 major checkpoints before running the robots even once. I made it through the first checkpoint and the robot hit a wall. The app highlighted the step where the issue occurred (which is cool), but then erased all of the code after that step that dealt with milestones 2-4. Had it not erased the later steps, all I would have needed to do to fix the existing code would be to adjust the number of rotations on one step. Seeing 3/4 of my code erased almost made me stop using the app for good. My fun in challenging myself was gone.
              Erasing after an error might be good for a beginner. Others that understand the logical steps to get a job done would be likely to put a few/a lot together before running it. Same thing happens in EV3 programming.
              Maybe an option to do it either way. "Beginning mode" where it erases and "Advanced mode" where it doesn't?
              --
              Fort Worth Robotics - North Texas Region Team #455
              Technical coach, baker of the cookies, keeper of the time, transporter of the travel field walls, finder of the spare parts, maker of the pop culture references that only the other tall people understand.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: EV3 programming game

                Originally posted by gt0163c View Post
                Maybe an option to do it either way. "Beginning mode" where it erases and "Advanced mode" where it doesn't?
                Since the game is designed to teach beginners, I wanted to encourage incremental programming: program a little, test it, fix it before adding more to the program. That's why the game only allows you to add or delete from the end, and it deletes instructions following a crash.

                I'm now considering creating a $0.99 upgrade for people who finish the 12 levels in the free version and want something more challenging. It would feature more levels with more difficulty, and might include capabilities such as adding/deleting instructions in the middle of a program, keeping your program intact when you crash, ability to add a "wait for EV3 button press" instruction to your program at points where you want to pause execution, ability to improve and re-run a program after it completes a level, and a way to show you a "battery usage" score for each run -- that you try to optimize and you can use to challenge yourself or your Game Center friends. This is the direction I'm heading at this point, and I'm interested in suggestions that folks may have about these or other features to include in the upgrade.

                I also starting looking into what would be required to port this game to Android phones. Since the game was designed using Apple-based language and tools, I've determined that this would be a major undertaking, and I'm going to defer working on an Android port until some later time, in favor of getting the Apple upgrade working sooner.

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                • #9
                  Re: EV3 programming game

                  I'm pleased to announce the availability of Fix EV3 Rover v1.3 at the Apple App Store and Mac App Store. It features several improvements, plus the ability to upgrade to the PRO version for a small fee and get additional levels and features, many of which were previously discussed in this thread. My goal is to have learning to program be as fun, motivating, and as easy as possible for kids 9 and older.

                  I'm now turning my attention to porting it to Android devices. More details are available at doffen.org/fixev3rover.

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                  • #10
                    Announcing the Android and PC version of Fix EV3 Rover, v1.4. So you can now have fun while learning to program EV3 robots on iPhones, Android phones, Macs and PCs. Find out more here: doffen.org/fixev3rover.

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