James LaPierre

Modular Environments and Powered Joints

James LaPierre
Modular Environments and Powered Joints

Time for a regularly scheduled RoboCo update! We’ve got a couple of neat improvements to show off this week, namely our recent efforts to implement 1) modular environments (for us!), as well as 2) powered joints (for you!). Let’s take a closer look! ⤵

Modular Environments

Much like RoboCo players snap together parts to make robots, we RoboCo developers are building environments out of modular wall, floor, and other pieces that can be snapped to a grid inside our game engine Unity. In the GIF below, you can see how this system allows us to manipulate the placement and angle of an environmental object like a warehouse wall and still have it align to the grid along with other objects. This is very useful if we ever wanted to, say, replace that wall with a door or hallway. Modular environment pieces will help speed up the time it takes our team to collectively design and modify in-game environments, allowing for greater flexibility and (ideally) more content for players!

Powered Joints

In a similar spirit as our modular environments, the introduction of powered joint constructs adds further elements of flexibility to RoboCo – only in this case, these new parts can actually be used by players! For context, “constructs” in RoboCo are premade groups of parts that come with default motor settings and control inputs. They allow users to quickly assemble robots that can move in a variety of ways. Powered joint constructs in particular serve as nice building blocks in between the simplicity of a single motor and the complexity of a fully functioning arm. Check out this arm we made out of powered joint constructs in the short clip below!

Constructs remain fully customizable, allowing more experienced robo-engineers to edit and experiment with control input settings or the RPM, rotation direction, or other variables on the motors within. And all constructs can be ungrouped and edited as separate parts, or players can ignore them and build from scratch. Our hope is that these constructs will help make the game more accessible to beginning players looking for early success, or who are less familiar with robotics and engineering fundamentals.


That’s all from us for now – for more RoboCo news and updates, stay tuned right here on our dev blog and follow us on Twitter! And for our followers who will be in the Los Angeles area next week for E3 2019, be sure to visit us at The Mix LA Showcase on June 12 at 7PM PT for a chance to try the game yourself!