Quick start

The most common way to use Player is to run the player server on your robot, then access your robot's devices with a client program.

Here we give two example configurations: one for a physical robot and one for a simulated robot.

Physical robot

You need to write a Player configuration file, usually with the extension .cfg, that instantiates the driver(s) needed to control your robot and tell the driver(s) how to access relevant hardware. The job of the configuration file is to map your physical devices to Player devices.

Several example configuration files are installed (by default) in /usr/local/share/player/config. It's best to start with one of these as a template.

For example, if you have a Pioneer mobile robot with a SICK LMS200 laser range-finder attached, your .cfg file might look like this (if you have different hardware, check the Supported devices page to see what driver(s) you should use instead):

driver
(
  name "p2os"
  provides ["odometry:::position2d:0"]
  port "/dev/ttyS0"
)
driver
(
  name "sicklms200"
  provides ["laser:0"]
  port "/dev/ttyS1"
)

This file instantiates the p2os driver to access the robot's motors. This driver will talk to the robot over the serial port "/dev/ttyS0" and map its motors and encoders to the Player device "position2d:0". This file also instantiates the sicklms200 driver to access the SICK laser over the serial port "/dev/ttyS1" and present it as the Player device "laser:0".

Assuming you named this file pioneer.cfg, you would run player like so (do this on the computer that is connected to the robot and laser; for the Pioneer this is probably the computer that is installed inside the robot):

$ player pioneer.cfg

 Part of the Player/Stage/Gazebo Project
 [http://playerstage.sourceforge.net].
 Copyright (C) 2000 - 2005 Brian Gerkey, Richard Vaughan, Andrew Howard,
 Nate Koenig, and contributors. Released under the GNU General Public
 License.
 Player comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.  This is free software, and you
 are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; see COPYING
 for details.

Listening on ports: 6665

Now player is waiting to service client connections on port 6665. Jump down to Controlling your robot.

Simulated robot (in Stage)

Using Player with Stage requires two configuration files: a Stage .world file and a Player .cfg file. The .world file defines the simulated world, telling Stage what kind of sensors and actuators are to be simulated, which background image to load, etc. The .cfg file then maps these simulated devices onto Player devices.

Stage comes with a number of example .world and .cfg files. They are installed (by default) in /usr/local/share/stage/worlds. Try a simple one first:

$ player /usr/local/share/stage/worlds/simple.cfg

 Part of the Player/Stage/Gazebo Project
 [http://playerstage.sourceforge.net].
 Copyright (C) 2000 - 2005 Brian Gerkey, Richard Vaughan, Andrew Howard,
 Nate Koenig, and contributors. Released under the GNU General Public
 License.
 Player comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.  This is free software, and you
 are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; see COPYING
 for details.

trying to load /usr/local/lib/libstageplugin...
success
invoking player_driver_init()...
 Stage driver plugin init

 Stage plugin v2.0.0 **
 Part of the Player/Stage Project [http://playerstage.sourceforge.net]
 Copyright 2000-2005 Richard Vaughan, Andrew Howard, Brian Gerkey
 and contributors.
 Released under the GNU GPL.
success
  Stage driver creating 1 device
    mapping 6665.31.0 => Simulated world [./simple.world][Include
pioneer.inc][Include map.inc][Include sick.inc]name velocityvector state 0
default 0
name positionlines state 0 default 0
name positiontext state 0 default 0
name ranger_data state 1 default 1
name ranger_cfg state 0 default 0
name laserdata state 1 default 1
name lasercfg state 0 default 0

  Stage driver creating 2 devices
    mapping 6665.4.0 => "robot1"
    mapping 6665.6.0 => "robot1.laser:0"
Listening on ports: 6665

You should get the Stage window, with a single red robot. Now player is awaiting a client connection. Go on to Controlling your robot.

Controlling your robot

To visualize the robot's sensor data, try the graphical tool playerv. Just like any client program, you can run it either on the same machine where you're running the player server, or on any other machine that has network connectivity to it.

Let's assume that the hostname of the computer running player (for the physical robot, it's the computer attached to the robot; for the simulated robot, it's the computer where you're running the simulation) is marvin, and that you want to run playerv on your desktop machine. Then you would do something like this:

$ playerv -h marvin --position2d --laser

You should get a window that shows you the robot (it's the box in the middle) with laser data (blue polyline). The robot's front end points to the right in this window.

To drive the robot around, choose the menu option Devices->position2d:0->Command. A little crosshair will appear on the robot; click and drag it right and left to move the robot forward and backward (drag it up and down to turn left and right).

Ok, so you can teleoperate the robot; how about autonomous control? De-select the Devices->position2d:0->Command option in the menu, so that playerv will stop sending commands to the robot. Then try the laserobstacleavoid program (it doesn't get installed; you can find it compiled where you built player, in examples/libplayerc++):

$ laserobstacleavoid

The robot should start wandering around, using the laser to avoid obstacles. You should see the laser data changing in playerv. Ctrl-C to exit randomwalk, which will stop the robot. Ctrl-C to exit player.

Writing your own control program

To do anything interesting with your robot, you need to write your client program. Doing so is pretty straightforward, especially if you use of the existing Client Libraries. These libraries handle all the socket and data-packing details and present you with an API that lets you easily get at the sensor data and send actuator commands. Read through the documentation for the library that you choose, and start with example program as a template.