PLaSM Language Revised

3D modeling with PLaSM is the second most popular module in NCLab after computer programming with Karel the Robot. Based on user input collected during the last months we thoroughly revised PLaSM, made it easier to use, and translated into Czech and Polish. Other translations will follow based on requests. Here is a list of major changes:

  • The ROTATE and R commands now accept degrees (previously they worked with radians). This change means backward incompatibility. Please revisit your PLaSM programs, find all occurrences of the commands ROTATE and R, and change the angles to degrees. Commands RDEG, RRAD are the same as before.
  • The CYLINDER command was abbreviated to CYL (original command still works).
  • Other abbreviations include DIFF -> D, COLOR -> C, TRUNCONE -> TCONE, CONVEXHULL -> CHULL.
  • We introduced a number of predefined colors:

    GRAY = [128, 128, 128] GREY = [128, 128, 128] GREEN = [0, 255, 0] BLACK = [0, 0, 0] BLUE = [0, 0, 255] BROWN = [139, 69, 19] CYAN = [0, 255, 255] MAGENTA = [255, 0, 255] ORANGE = [255, 153, 0] PURPLE = [128, 0, 128] WHITE = [255, 255, 255] RED = [255, 0, 0] YELLOW = [255, 255, 0] STEEL = [255, 255, 255] BRASS = [181, 166, 66] COPPER = [184, 115, 51] BRONZE = [140, 120, 83] SILVER = [230, 232, 250] GOLD = [226, 178, 39]

  • Many new exercises and design projects were introduced and are available under Learning Resources in PLaSM’s File menu. Solutions are available to instructors only. Here is a sample exercise Traffic Cone:

Interactive exercises are available under Learning Materials in PLaSM’s File menu.


  • A thorough textbook revision is in progress. As all exercises and solutions are available as interactive worksheets, they will probably be removed from the textbook.
  • As we said above, the language was translated into Czech and Polish for starters. This is really cool because the 3D modeling functionality became available to a large number of kids who do not speak English. Plus, we have observed many times that people are simply more confident when using their mother tongue. That’s why sooner or later, PLaSm will be translated into additional languages, and we will also translate Karel the Robot and other modules. But this is a topic for another post. Here is, for illustration, how the PLaSM demo program and the entire NCLab desktop looks like in Czech (click to enlarge):


NCLab offers seven language versions (cs, de, fr, en, es, it, pl) that can be selected in Settings. Not all translations are perfect but we are steadily improving them based on suggestions of native speakers. Many thanks to everyone for helping us make NCLab speak your language!