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  • Writer's pictureMark

2009 - Back to the world of pointers

As the OpenPandora handheld release draws near, the myriad of milestone videos chronicling its development has really tickled my developer sense. If you are not familiar with it, the Pandora is a Linux based handheld device (geared towards retro gaming), developed by the elite of the engineering community surrounding the Korean Gamepark Holdings gp32x. The machine has been in the works now for several years, and I was one of the early adopters willing to pay for an unseen, untested device...It really is a doozy though, and I will not go into the specs (see here), but it is something I have been waiting for for some time. Writing games for this seems fascinating in the same way the old C64 game development was. You were coder, artist, writer, qa, and musician.

Next, the university where I do course development and online facilitation needed a C++ instructor, and I was more than happy to oblige. This was the real kicker, as I had forgotten how much fun it was (although often trying) to program in said language. After a bit of a refresher, I whipped up my first game for the device. Truth be told though, it is not actually compiled for the Pandora yet. Currently I am still compiling this for Linux on x86 processors, which will need to change to the ARM/Pandora toolchain once a nice package is released..

I will soon put this up on Sourceforge, but for now here is a tar for anyone who may be interested to check it out. I am currently compiling with gcc on Ubuntu, so that is I all can guarantee (although I seem to remember testing Win XP recently) There is are still tons of missing features, and I know the timer does not reset and I believe there is a memory leak on starting a new game (not the initial, only after completion), but it is mostly there. There is also much code/design that could be much better, as this was really just a sandbox for me to get back into C++ app development.

The game basically is a word seek puzzle game, that uses any txt files in the puzzle directory to randomly generate a grid of letters with your words hidden across or top, forward or reversed. The algorithm that does this is pretty poor, as I did not really spend much time on actual mechanics...was more concerned with bit blitting, event handling, and grappling back with pointers, memory allocation, and syntactic differences with trusty old Java.

I have also started a full blown side-scroller beat em up, which is coming along nicely (SDL and OpenGL. Have the tile mapping/smooth scrolling and much of the framework and caching done) Hopefully I can post that soon as well.

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