Think the Vex controller has 2 PICs in it, they might be 2 18F8520 or something. I think one has firmware to decode the RC receiver signal, and maybe some other stuff. The other I think can be programmed in the usual ways, MPASM, various C's.
Just checked Steve's link, looks like that was $500 worth of goodies.
Yep, about $499 I think. It uses the PIC18F8520 micros. They offer
two C compilers: Robot C and easyC PRO. Ours came with Robot C. Both are
Windows-only proprietary software so I'll have to look around and see
if there are any free software tool chains I can use with it. I've
already found GPL'd source code for a program loader written by a VEX
team who didn't want to use Windows. The free software SDCC compiler supports the
18F8520. Some other VEX teams have been reverse-engineering the
proprietary stuff, so I think we'll be able to get it going. Worst case,
we'll bolt on an Arduino or something. :)