This is not what you are thinking. 😁
In short: you do not need a license to create virtual controllers in RobotStudio. This functionality is part of the Basic mode, and can be very useful!
ABB's documentation is not clear on this subject, but in the latest versions of RS there are basically three types of licenses: Trial, Basic and Premium.
Trial, as the name implies, is a demo license. In the first 30 days, RobotStudio will work with all the features of Premium mode. At the end of the trial period, if the license is purchased, the Premium features are still enabled. If not, these features are disabled, and RobotStudio starts to work in Basic mode.
With RS in Basic mode, it is not possible to create 3D simulations, insert CAD objects, etc., that is, no simulation.
However, it is still possible to create a virtual robot, and access it through the virtual FlexPendant, or even make a "remote access" via RobotStudio, as it would be done in a real robot.
And what does that mean?
It means that, if you need to check some logic, see a customized screen or just practice on the virtual FlexPendant, this is possible, without the need for a license.
Below are the steps to create a virtual controller from scratch.
I tested in two installations with the expired Trial licenses, one with RobotStudio 2019.3, and the other with RobotStudio 2020.1. The screenshots below are from version 2020.1
The most current versions of RobotStudio do NOT come with any RobotWare installed, as they did in the old versions. Before starting the procedure, you must install all relevant RobotWares. For this, the computer must be connected to the internet.
Go to the Add-Ins tab, select the RobotWare tag, select the type of target controller (in our case it will be an IRC5), select the RobotWare version, click the Add button, and wait for the installation.
When the process is complete, you will see RobotWare in the column on the left side of the window, in the Installed Packages section.
Open RobotStudio, go to the Controller tab, click on the Add Controller option, and select the Start Virtual Controller option ...
In the Start Virtual Controller window, select the Manage option. In the image below, there are some virtual controllers already created.
Choose the version of Robotware to be used in the virtual robot. In this example, we will use RW 6.
Click on the "+" or the New button.
In the Create New section, give the controller a name, and choose how you want to create it. In this example, a new controller will be created.
In the next window, click Add ...
Select the type of mechanism to be used. In this example, we will select only one robot (RobotWare option).
In this step, the model of the mechanical arm can be determined, as well as other software options. I left the standard model, an IRB-140.