Getting Started


We only provide official support for Ubuntu 20.04 due to ROS2. Make sure you are on an Ubuntu 20.04 machine before continuing. Alternatively for Windows users, using WSL2 with Ubuntu 20.04 will work. The steps to set this up can be found here.

First, clone the repository from GitHub:

git clone

Then change directories (cd) to the repository you just cloned, and run the setup script to install all required dependencies:

cd robocup-software ./util/ubuntu-setup && ./util/git-setup

Running The First Time

Let’s run the stack! We’ll use the ER-Force simulator to simulate the vision data we’d get from a real field camera setup. (Read the “Welcome” page if that sentence made no sense to you.)

To download the ER-Force Simulator, git clone from the following repo:

git clone

Change directory into the recently cloned repo

Run the following code line by line

mkdir build && cd build cmake .. make simulator-cli

This builds an executable in framework/build/bin.

Open a new terminal window and change directory into framework/build/bin. In this folder, there should be a file named simulator-cli.

Run this file by doing the following


This will run the ER-Force Simulator to test your code

Now, make sure you’re on the most updated version of ros2 branch. This is where the latest working version of our codebase exists. (See “Github” doc. –TODO(Kevin): transfer this to docs–)

git pull git checkout ros2

Then, source the ROS setup file. This ensures your shell can use ROS commands.

source /opt/ros/foxy/setup.bash

If you’re on zsh, source the .zsh version instead. (If you don’t know what zsh is, you’re not on zsh.)

source /opt/ros/foxy/setup.zsh

Then build the codebase. This compiles all of our code.

make perf

(This step will take upwards of 15 minutes on a VM.)

After building, we need to source our local setup. Run the following in the robocup-software directory:

source install/setup.bash

Again, if you’re on zsh, source the .zsh version instead:

source install/setup.zsh

Now we are good to go. As a sanity check, the following command should print out rj_robocup:

ros2 pkg list | grep rj_robocup

To run sim, run the following:

ros2 launch rj_robocup

If everything is working properly, you should see the following window show up.


Running Again

Now that you know how to source dependencies, build, and run our code, you can take advantage of some neat shortcuts. These shortcuts all depend on the following knowledge:

Sourcing only needs to happen every time a new terminal is opened, and building only needs to happen when C++ or files are changed.

(Python is not a compiled language; thus, those files do not need to be built when changed.)

So, after you’ve built once, the install/setup.bash script will exist in your version of the repo, and you won’t have to build again until you make changes to C++ or launch files. That means the next time you open up a new terminal, you can launch sim with:

. ./source.bash make run-sim

source.bash is an alias for the two source commands in the above section, and make run-sim is an alias for ros2 launch rj_robocup

Since Python is not compiled, if you’re exclusively working on Python files, and staying in one terminal, it’s likely that you’ll mostly only need:

make run-sim

However, if you’re working on C++ or launch files (or if someone else changes them on a different branch and you want their changes), you’ll need to build again. If you’ve already built once, though, you can build again more quickly with:

make again . ./source.bash

The source.bash line is necessary to source the file in install/, which is refreshed on each build. (Note: this does not build any CMake-related files, so if you’re editing those, use make perf as usual.)

There are a few different ways to build our code. See the makefile for more details, but in short:

make all         # builds with full debugging symbols make debug       #
alias for make all make all-release # builds with 0 debugging symbols make
perf        # builds with some debugging symbols; preferred method

TODO(Kevin): add description of running on field comp (move that md file over too)