Hoisted by my own petard!
I agree simulation will only get you so far. But for learning the basics it is really handy - much faster, and you don’t have to focus as much on the “which code is running where” issues that you do actually running ROS(2) on a GoPiGo3.
Ugg - you would not believe the disarray of simulation in the mix of Gazebo Classic and Gazebo Ignition on ROS 2 Galactic and ROS 2 Humble. I just spent more than a day on these four combinations - oh and add three robot simulator source code releases and setting up a dual-boot Windows11/Ubuntu laptop to the four combinations and I have simulated exhaustion.
BTW, Keith did you have a simulated world that matched your wood playground? I would really like to find a simple world to simulate robots in. I tried placing static objects and saving as a world, but the objects have moved when I restart with the saved world.
Unfortunately no - I never got ambitious enough to design my own worlds for simulation.
As for the hodge-podge of environments, I’ll confess that although I did the tutorials for the basics, for the more advance programming I used The Construct. Their simulation environment was accessible via a browser, and they had a number of good simulation environments for learning. Most of the courses weren’t free (they have a few free ones if you want to see what their environment is like), but I thought they were worth the price just to be able to jump directly into learning and skip a lot of the hassle initially.
Of course eventually it all had to be translated to the real world, but at least these courses helped me get over the hump of the steep ROS learning curve.