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GingerBread

A library with some standard functions for making your own Game Boy games in Assembly, written from scratch. It was made alongside the book Game Boy Assembly Programming for the Modern Game Developer which can be downloaded here.

Functionality

The GingerBread library attempts to contain a lot of basic functionality needed for most Game Boy games. It takes care of things like

  1. Defining various constants that are easier to remember than random memory addresses
  2. Defining several low-level function that most games would need, like
    • Reading key input
    • Displaying graphics
    • Writing text and numbers
    • Playing sound effects
    • Super Game Boy and Game Boy Color functionality
    • Managing save data
  3. Taking care of the boot process
  4. Defining the ROM header

The idea is to reduce the amount of boilerplate code needed to get started with Game Boy game development in Assembly. The book contains lots of examples and also serves as documentation for this library.

The library does not directly support playing background music. Instead, it is designed to be used alongside GBT-Player which is included as a git submodule. The library can also be used without GBT-Player.

Requirements

RGBDS is necessary to compile GingerBread and its example(s).

To do

  1. Make a stand-alone documentation document, specifying the constants and functions defined by GingerBread. Most of it is in the book, but having it available stand-alone is probably useful to many.

Why make this?

During the development of Rope & Bombs, the lack of any cohesive and complete introduction to Game Boy development was a major hassle. To save others from having to figure out themselves like we did, the book tries to explain things in a way that is (hopefully) easy to understand for people more used to modern programming.

Unfortunately, the amount of material needed to explain every necessary aspect of Game Boy development from the ground up would be so large that the book simply could not be finished. In order to relieve the book from having to explain absolutely everything, the GingerBread library was introduced which contains a bunch of boilerplate code. That way, new Game Boy developers can start coding their game much faster, while focusing on learning how to express their game logic, as opposed to starting with having to figure out how to write their ROM header (while simultaneously having to figure out what that is and why you need one).

We hope that, by introducing things in order of relevance, Game Boy development will be much more approachable. Once a developer has learned the basics, they may find that they no longer need, or no longer want, to use GingerBread and would rather code everything from scratch. If somebody reaches that point using our work, then we consider that a success.

Legal stuff

The library is released under the The Unlicense. It basically means you are allowed to use it for whatever purpose.

This library is written with no association or cooperation with Nintendo. The Game Boy is a trademark of Nintendo.

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A library with some standard functions for Game Boy games written in ASM

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