Getting started

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Get a Gamebuino

To order a Gamebuino along with some cool customization accessories, head to the Gamebuino Shop.

While you wait for your Gamebuino to arrive, you can start to play and program games using one of the Emulators.

Use your Gamebuino

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Turn it on

You just received your Gamebuino. Hurray! You should first turn it on to check that nothing has been damaged during shipping. If nothing shows up the battery may be empty or the screen may have moved... don't panic, and head to the troubleshooting page.

Load games from the micro SD card

  • The new graphical loader allows you to navigate through games easily. You can select a game, see it's description (use up and down arrows to browse through the description), delete saved games, or delete the game itself.
  • To get back to the loader from a game, press "C" when in the game's main menu.
  • For it to work, the micro SD card needs to be inserted, to be formatted to FAT, and to contain at least the file LOADER.HEX. See Troubleshooting#SD_card
  • Pro Tip: If you accidentally turn the Gamebuino off while a game is loading, it won't start again. To solve this: hold "C" down, turn the Gamebuino ON, release "C", and wait 30 seconds for LOADER.HEX to be loaded from the SD card. You can also use this if you are stuck in a game which doesn't allow you to get back to the loader.

Adjust settings

  • When in the loader, select SETTINGS:
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  • Useful settings:
    • Default username in "change settings/player name"
    • Display contrast in "change settings/display/contrast"
    • Disable the critical battery alert by setting it to 0 in "change settings/battery/critic voltage"
    • Mute sound by default by setting "sound/default volume" to 0.
  • Don't forget to select "save" before you exit!

Charge the battery

Note: If you let your Gamebuino discharged for a long period of time (months), it might reduce the battery capacity. Please charge it at least once a month.

You may want to charge your Gamebuino's battery when you receive it. To load the battery, you just have to connect your Gamebuino to an USB port (from your computer or an outlet charger) using the provided micro USB cable. The "charging" LED will turn on (the one beneath the lightning bolt battery symbol) until it's fully charged. Then, the "charged" LED will turn on (the one beneath to the full battery symbol). Note that your Gamebuino will charge faster if turned off and that a charged battery will give you at least 8 hours of continuous play.

Software setup

Install the Arduino software

  • Download the Arduino application here and follow instructions to install it.
  • Note: If you are using a package manager to install Arduino, make sure it installs Arduino 1.0.5 or above (version 1.0 won't work).

Install the Gamebuino Library

  • Download and the Gamebuino library's archive and extract it (more download in the download page).
  • Copy the "libraries" and "hardware" folders to the Arduino sketchbook folder. On Windows it is usually named "Arduino" inside the My Documents directory. On OS X and Linux the sketchbook directory is usually named "sketchbook" inside your home directory. You can change its location in Arduino's preferences.
  • To check that the library is correctly installed re-start the Arduino software and click on File/Examples, you should find "Gamebuino".
  • Now you should be able to set the device to Gamebuino by selecting Tools/boards/Gamebuino in the menu bar.

Install the drivers

If you need help installing the drivers, refer to the Arduino guide (Windows, MacOSX, Linux). Note that your Gamebuino should be turned on when you connect it to the computer

Upload a game through USB

Note: It's better to used one of the Emulators during development, and once you're done put the HEX file on the SD card (see below), rather than using the USB upload. This will allow faster development, avoid wearing the flash memory, and avoid messing up saved games.

  • Start the Arduino software
  • Click on File/Examples/Gamebuino/ and open an example. If there is no Gamebuino folder, check that you correctly installed the library.
  • Click on Tools/boards/Gamebuino to set the right device.
  • Click on Tools/Serial Port and select the one corresponding to your Gamebuino. If it's grayed out check that you have correctly installed the drivers, that your Gamebuino is turned on, and that the cable is working and correctly plugged in.
  • Click on "Upload" or press Ctrl+U

You just uploaded your first Gamebuino game, congratulations !

Put games on the micro SD card

Get an .HEX

You need a compiled game in the .HEX format on the micro SD card to be able to play them on your console. .HEX can also be played on a computer using the Simbuino emulator (see Download).

You can get a compilation of the necessary .HEX files (LOADER.HEX and SETTINGS.HEX) along with up-to-date games here: Gamebuino-Games-Compilation.

Browse all the games created by the community by visiting the Games Gallery.

Make your own .HEX

  • Start the Arduino software
  • Click on File/Preferences and check "Show verbose output during compilation"
  • Compile your program (Ctrl+R)
  • A lot of text will scroll in the black area at the bottom of the window. The build directory path will be displayed there, and should looke something like:
    • Windows: "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\build[random number].tmp\a_Hello.cpp.hex".
    • GNU/Linux: "/tmp/build[random number].tmp/a_Hello.cpp.hex"
    • Mac : Type open $TMPDIR in your mac's terminal to open the folder that is otherwise not accessible. You can then make a shortcut to your desktop.
  • You can also change the build path in "arduino/lib/preferences.txt" by changing the line #build.path= to build.path=(directory you want).
  • Navigate to this folder and find the .hex file with the name of your program
  • Rename it to a 8:3 format: only capitals, 8 characters max for the name and .HEX extension. For example: CRABATOR.HEX or PONG.HEX

Put it on the micro SD card

Put your .HEX file with a 8:3 name on your micro SD card using the micro SD adapter provided. You can now select the .HEX file on your Gamebuino to load it on the go, without a computer! Do NOT turn off your Gamebuino while flashing.

Add a logo and description

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If you want your game to appear with a logo and description in the loader, you have to create an .INF file and put it along the .HEX file on the SD card.

  • Get the INF encoder from the Download page (requires Java).
  • Put the generated .INF file along with the game's .HEX file on the SD card. They must have the same name, all in capitals, and 8 characters max. For example CRABATOR.HEX (the game binaries) and CRABATOR.INF (the description file).
  • Logo must be 19*18px
  • Slides must be 84*32px, up to 255 slides is allowed.
  • Drag and drop slides to reorganize them
  • The first slide is the one shown while the game is loading
  • Slides can be used to describe the game, tell the story, explain how to play, etc. By putting this information in the INF you can read it before loading the game, everything that's in the .INF don't need to be in the .HEX so it frees some space for your code.

See Also