Getting started

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Revision as of 2014-07-24T20:39:58 by Rodot (talk | contribs) (Install the Gamebuino Library: link to adekto's video tutorial added)
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Get a Gamebuino

For an overall presentation head to the home page or indiegogo page.

As the indiegogo campaign is over, you can't order a Gamebuino for now. But you can subscribe to the newsletter to know when they'll be available for order again.

Use my 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.

Load games from the micro SD card

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  • Make sure that the provided SD card is correctly inserted in its socket.
  • The game browser is named LOADER.HEX. There is several ways to load it:
    • Hold down C while you turn the power switch on then release it.
    • Press C in the Gamebuino title screen
  • Note: You should always get back to the title screen of the game and press 'C' to flash the loader before you turn your Gamebuino off, load another program through USB, or eject the micro SD card. It will avoid to mess up your saved games, as the EEPROM is backed up in a .SAV file when you switch from a game to the loader, and restored when you select a game from the loader.

Change the default settings

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  • Select "See all settings" to know what can be adjusted. These settings are stored directly in the Gamebuino and will be share between different games.
  • You should at least adjust these two settings:
    • Display contrast
    • Default username
  • You can let the other settings to their default value, it should be okay.
  • Don't forget to select "save" before you exit

Charge the battery

  • 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 next to the empty battery logo) until it's fully charged. Then, the "charged" LED will turn on (the one next to the full battery logo).
  • Your Gamebuino will charge faster if turned off.
  • A charged battery will give you at least 8 hours of continuous play.

Remove the paper cover

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  • The transparent acrylic case is covered with a brown paper protection. Some of you may want to keep it, some may want to remove it.
  • First, check that your Gamebuino works fine.
  • Dismantle it:
    • Unscrew the 4 short screws on the back side first
    • Remove the back plate
    • Unscrew the 4 white nylon spacers
    • Remove the PCB
    • Unscrew the 4 long screws on the front side last
  • Remove the paper cover. Be careful not to scratch the acrylic
  • Check that everything still works fine (especially the display)
  • Assemble back your Gamebuino:
    • Be gentle when you tighten the screws or you may damage the nylon spacers
    • Screw the 4 long screws with 4 nylon spacers on the top plate (be careful to put it on the right side)
    • Put the screen holder on the two upper nylon spacer
    • Put the PCB in place, check that buttons are correctly placed int their holes
    • Screw 4 nylon spacer to hold the PCB in place
    • Add the back plate and screw it with the 4 short screws
    • You might want to a spacer between the back plate and the PCB to limit the PCB bending because of screen pressure

Troubleshoot display issues

If the screen is too dark or too dim

  • Adjust the contrasts using the program SETTINGS.HEX located on the SD card.
  • Pinch the top of the screen to improve the contact with the PCB
  • Check the screen holder is in place to prevent the screen from moving.
  • Clean the rubberized contact on the back of the screen using alcohol with a piece of soft fabric

If the screen is blank when you turn on your Gamebuino

  • If you don't hear the start-up sound
    • You may be out of battery: turn your Gamebuino off, and plug it in (the "charging" led should turn on) for about one hour and try again.
    • You may not have a program loaded in your Gamebuino, so press C while you turn your Gamebuino on to flash LOADER.HEX from the micro SD card.
    • If a micro SD card is present, check that the C button is not jammed in the pressed position, or LOADER.HEX will be continuously re-flashed.
  • If you can hear the sound but the display stays blank, it means that it may have moved and the contacts with the PCB are misaligned.
    • Check that the screen is correctly snapped to the PCB
    • Check that the screen holder is in place
    • Try to gently push the screen upward/downward/leftward/rightward and restart the Gamebuino until the contacts are correctly aligned and you can see something.

Upload a program through USB

Install the Arduino software

  • Download the Arduino application here and follow instructions to install it.
  • If you're using Windows, you may want to use the Arduino Enhanced Release.

Install the Gamebuino Library

  • Download and the Gamebuino library
  • Extract the archive
  • Mac users: you can follow this video tutorial.
  • Copy the folders "Gamebuino" and "tinyFat" located in /libraries and paste them in /Arduino/libraries (where you installed Arduino). On Mac: Put them in documents/Arduino/libraries
  • Copy the folder "gamebuino_boot" from the archive to /Arduino/hardware/arduino/bootloaders. On Mac: Right-click the Arduino-Application in your Programs-folder. Select "Show package contents", then search in this folder for "bootloaders" and copy the folder there.
  • To check that the library is correctly installed, start the Arduino software, and click on File/Examples, you should find "Gamebuino".

Add Gamebuino to boards.txt

  • Navigate to the folder where you installed Arduino
  • Open Arduino/hardware/arduino/boards.txt
  • Add the following at the beginning of the file and save it


  • Restart the Arduino Software
  • Now you should be able to set the device to Gamebuino by selecting Tools/boards/Gamebuino in the menu bar.

Install the drivers

  • Note: your Gamebuino should be turned on when you connect it to the computer
  • Note: drivers should be installed automatically on Windows if you used the installer
  • Drivers are located in the Arduino/drivers folder
  • If you need help to install the drivers, refer to the Arduino guide

Upload a game

  • Start the Arduino software
  • Open an example by clicking File/Examples/Gamebuino/ If you don't find it, check that you correctly installed the Gamebuino library
  • Select the right device by selecting Tools/boards/Gamebuino
  • Select the right serial port in Tools/Serial Port. 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

  • Game files which can be loaded on the Gamebuino from the SD card are .HEX files.
  • You can get .HEX files of the default programs on GitHub, and .HEX file of other people's games in the forum in the Games Gallery.

Get the .HEX file from your game

  • 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
  • Look for a path looking something like that: "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\build5779270642744474562.tmp\a_Hello.cpp.hex"
  • Note: If you use the Arduino Enhanced Release, just press Ctrl+Alt+R to open the current build folder.
  • 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 that file on your micro SD card using the micro SD adapter provided.
  • You're ready to go!

How to make my own games

  • If you never ever programmed, you should read the Arduino Foundations page to understand... foundations.
  • You should explore the basic Examples, try to understand them, change things an see what happens. There is a lot of comments in the examples, so it should be easy to understand. If there is something you don't get, take a look at the Arduino Reference for general purpose things, and the Gamebuino Reference for Gamebuino-specific functions. Open the examples in the Arduino software by clicking File/Examples/Gamebuino/basics.

See Also