Feb 27

Friday Post: DIY Joystick

Hey All!

Happy Friday!  This week I took video of myself building a small Arcade Joystick for the Raspberry Pi.  I hope you all enjoy.  Let me know if you have any questions!

MagPi

The latest issue of the MagPi is out, and in this issue, not only have they announced that they are officially part of the Foundation, but they have also reviewed PiPlay, RetroPie, and Raspicade!

PiPlay received the “Best Features” comment, while RetroPie and Raspicade received “Best of the Bunch” and “Best for Newbies” respectively.

mp1 mp2

It’s a real honor to be mentioned in the MagPi :)

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Feb 25

Raspberry Pi Gaming Second Edition Published!

Hey All,

I am VERY excited to post about this.  I have been working on this book for the better part of a year, it has truly been a blood sweat and tears kinda project.  I felt burnt out at times, frustrated, ecstatic, relieved, rewarded, and angry all during the writing of this book.  But it’s done and I couldn’t be happier.

I am pleased to announce that my book, Raspberry Pi Gaming Second Edition has been published and is now available to order from Amazon.

3673_Raspberry Pi Gaming Second Edition_cov_0 (1)

Whereas the last book was mostly a cookbook style in writing, this book teaches how to:

  • Program games utilizing the Scratch language
  • Install multiple operating systems
  • Set up your Raspberry Pi computer
  • Install and configure game system emulators
  • Control your Minecraft world with the Python programming language
  • Explore different kinds of joysticks, controllers, game pads, and other input devices
  • Install applications in Linux

Thanks again to everyone who has helped me, supported me, and given me the opportunity to make this a reality.  You all rock.  Thank you readers and PiPlay community members :)

-Shea

Feb 20

Friday Post: PiPlay 8 Beta 8!

It’s now available on SourceForge!

Hey All,

PiPlay 8 Beta 8 is here!  Mark has put a huge amount of time into the new frontend code.   We have moved form YAML files to a SQLite database.  Many items have been sped up.  The web frontend now has a database administration section.

This is a huge update.  Probably the best I think we put out… but because of the Pi2, we have had to do a lot of extra testing, and may have missed some stuff.  Please please please let us know if something isn’t working, or if something slipped through the cracks.  I want this to be the best release ever!

This new image will work on the Pi2 and B, B+, A, and A+.  I have spent the past week pulling out hair trying to get everything to work.  I have had to remove Stella, the Atari 2600 emulator for the moment.  When I can get it working properly on the new kernel, I will add it back in.

The image is currently being uploaded to SourceForge, so in a few hours it should be available.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks to all the testers.  If you find any bugs (I’m sure there are some) let us know in the PiPlay forums.

Feb 13

Friday Post: Termboy

Hey All,

Happy Friday!

So I have had my Pi2 for a week, and I gotta say, it’s a great piece of kit.  PiPlay is coming along nicely.  Having some hiccups on the Pi2 that I need to fix before I do a full release.

TermBoy

With that being said, I saw on Hacker News today a port of a gameboy emulator to the Go language, that also only utilizes the console.  It’s called Termboy, and while it doesn’t run that fast on the Raspberry Pi, it’s still a neat little tech demo.

We first download the proper console font and install it:

wget http://kbd-project.org/download/kbd-2.0.2.tar.xz
tar xf kbd-2.0.2.tar.xz
sudo cp kbd-2.0.2/data/consolefonts/default8x16.psfu /usr/share/consolefonts/

Now we download the latest GoLang version (The apt-get version of Go is 2 years old)
[code]
wget https://storage.googleapis.com/golang/go1.4.1.src.tar.gz
tar xf go1.4.1.src.tar.gz

Set the path for where we want our Go packages to be downloaded

mkdir godownload
export GOPATH=/home/pi/go/godownload/

Build Go

cd go/src/
./make.bash

One that has completed, it’s time to download Termboy and build it.

cd ../bin/
./go get github.com/dobyrch/termboy-go

Now goto the bin folder where our newly built termboy executable resides, and run it like so:

cd ../godownload/bin/
./termboy-go /path/to/game.rom

More PiPlay news soon.  Promise!

-Shea

Feb 06

Friday Post: Pi2 should be arriving tomorrow…

Hey All!

So my Pi2 is scheduled to arrive tomorrow!  I am currently prepping a new PiPlay image, as well as a new update so that it should just be plug and play.

I’m excited!!!

Humble Bundle Books Edition

So I love Humble Bundle.  I have bought a ton of things from them in the past…but this week, they have an awesome bundle!

They are offering a boatload of No Starch Press books at a name your own price!

hbnsp

https://www.humblebundle.com/books

Go buy some and support a charity at the same time!

More updates to come as I eagerly await my new board.

-Shea

Feb 02

Raspberry Pi 2

Hey All,

A big announcement came from the Raspberry Pi Foundation today!  They introduced the Raspberry Pi 2!

The biggest change is the CPU has been upgraded from a single core ARMv6 @ 700Mhz to a QUAD CORE ARMv7 @ 900Mhz.  The RAM has also been upgraded from 512MB to 1GB.  The price is going to remain the same as well!  Only $35!

The upgrade from ARMv6 to v7 is pretty big.  v7 can run things like Ubuntu and Android OS.  Most main line software repos are precompiled for v7 first as well.  Microsoft has even mentioned that Windows 10 will be free for the Raspberry Pi (though in an Internet-Of-Things way which may be more like the Intel Galileo than a full desktop environment).

All software should be backwards compatible so PiPlay should work right out of the box, along with a much appreciated speed boost.  I can’t wait to start recompiling the source code to eek out as much power as possible from this new core!

Most of the retail sites are swamped, but here is a list of places to order:

Pi2ModB1GB_-small

Jan 31

Friday Post: PiPlay Sneak Peek

Hey All,

I wanted to give you all a sneak peek on the next version of PiPlay.  The biggest feature is that we are moving from YAML files to a sqlite DB to store a lot of the data.  There are also lots of optimizations and speed improvements.

My two favorite features have to be the ones that Mark implemented:  Favorites, and Game Info.  You can now favorite a game and it will appear in the favorites category.  Alongside the game list, you will also find info available about your game (as long as you have run the scraper.)

The web interface has also been extended to include database editing.  You can now add menu items to frontend via the web interface.

1 2 3 4 5

 

This release should be out in the next week or so.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Jan 23

Friday Post: Javascript for Kids Review & iOS dev needed

Hey All!

So my 31st birthday was great.  Got a Gamecube controller adapter for the Wii U, had some 8 player smash battles, and my wife made me an awesome Pokemon cake!

IMG_4703

PiPlay iOS App

So one of the items I have been working on on the side for PiPlay is a remote controller option.  I have the backend working.  A daemon sits on the Pi as a virtual keyboard (using udev) waiting for a specific HTTP request which is then interpreted and issued a keypress.  It’s really cool to see in action, but ugly as all get out.

This is why I am asking if anyone has any iOS design / dev experience, I would love to chat with you and hopefully work together on this as an open source project.

10935506_10103804677807022_1324185694_o

My not so impressive mockup skills :)

Book Review: Javascript for Kids

Javascript For Kids is the next book in the “For Kids” series from No Starch Press.  When they originally sent me the Python For Kids book, I was really excited.  It was my first time reviewing a book, and it was an amazing text in its own right.  So when they told me Javascript For Kids was available, I jumped at the chance to review a copy.

I’m going to say this outright: I like Python For Kids better.

Javascript For Kids takes you from zero programming experience, all the way to programming graphics and mini games using the canvas tag.  Whereas Python For Kids was very easy to read and hard to put down, I find this book to be information dense, and a little overwhelming at parts.  The author knows his stuff, and the information is clear and well written, but I wish the book was paced a little slower.

That said the examples used are lots of fun, and the audience will probably enjoy writing and expanding on the included code.

No Starch landed a 10 / 10 on Python For Kids, which set the bar extremely high.  I’m giving Javascript For Kids a 7.5 out of 10.  It’s deserving of the For Kids title, and I eagerly await the next book in the series.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea