Compiling NXC using Sublime's Build system

  • NXT is a Lego Mindstorms robot
  • NXT-G is the default programming software for the NXT, using visual Drag-and-Drop "blocks"
  • NXC is a C-like programming language for the NXT
  • NBC is a compiler for NXC code, as well as a couple other languages
  • BricxCC is an IDE for the languages that NBC supports
  • FLL is a competition using NXT robots, which only allows NXT-G

I used NXT-G to program FLL robots, many years ago. For personal fun projects, I was disappointed in the limitations of NXT-G. It doesn't even have arrays. So I used the BricxCC IDE, and I wrote code in the NXC programming language. I was able to create much more interesting and advanced programs for the NXT using NXC than I had been able to create using NXT-G. I created clones of some classic games like Simon, Snake, and Tetris. I developed those games using BricxCC. The cursor behavior in BricxCC is quite different from most text editors, and I got used to it, and liked it.

A month ago, I programmed the NXT robot, and I really disliked the BricxCC IDE, and it's funky cursor behavior. I wanted to develop NXC programs using Sublime Text, and to download the programs using Sublime Text's Build System.

So I made a Sublime Text 3 build script for compiling the current file, and downloading it via USB. To use the same script I have, follow the steps below:

(Note that I did this on Windows. I don't know if you can make it work using macOS or Linux. Let me know if you make it work!)

  1. Open Sublime Text, and click Tools > Build System > New Build System...

  2. Delete the placeholder JSON, and paste the following JSON:

    "cmd": [
        // Replace next line with your nbc.exe path!
        "C:\\Program Files (x86)\\BricxCC\\nbc.exe",
        "-d", // -d: Download, -r: Download and Run
        "-sm-", // Avoid nbc status messages
    "file_patterns": [ "*.nxc" ],
    "file_regex": "^File \"(.+)\" ; line (\\d+)",
    "quiet": true // Avoid sublime environment info
  1. Replace line 4 with your actual nbc.exe path. If you've already got BricxCC installed on a 64-bit Windows machine, my path above should work for you.

  2. Save the file as NXC.sublime-build.

  3. Connect your NXT, open an .nxc file, and hit CtrlB!