Arduboy Update: “Zoo at Midnight” & “Ninja Fuzzgrawth”

A little while back at the beginning of the year I posted about that neat card-sized Arduino based console; The Arduboy…

…and now’s a good time to get involved if you’re interested because that spiffing gentleman, Kevin Bates, is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to support the development of ‘Arduventure’; an ambitious Arduboy based RPG with backer rewards including the hardware itself…

This past week I’ve been putting in quite a bit of time to push forward my current Arduboy project; it’s another epic platformer, “Ninja Fuzzgrawth”, which is loosely inspired by ‘Super House of Dead Ninjas’ but has mostly been an interesting foray further into my own exploration of programming and game making at a level that I can handle. In truth the bare bones of the game mechanics had been in place for some time, but I had been lacking that motivation to actually put the “game” in to the game. Even now, the biggest task I have remaining is designing the level blocks for the player to navigate. In the intervening months I also threw out into the community the top-down sneaky-sneaky “Zoo at Midnight” in which the player takes the reigns of … erm… a creature… sneaking around the zoo to feed the animals and avoiding the flashlights of the zoo wardens. That project began life as an entry into the first Arduboy game Jam, but sadly (although I began work on it at that time) I suddenly became too busy to finish it, so the game dragged on another month or so before I actually set it free on the world. Continue reading “Arduboy Update: “Zoo at Midnight” & “Ninja Fuzzgrawth””

Not Just a Hat Rack: Deconstructing My 8-Bit ‘Masterpiece’


Any of my regular followers who are so committed to the cause that they’ve also ventured to follow me on Twitter may have noticed sporadic postings in shaky phonecam footage of a curious little device known as an Arduboy. This credit-card sized GameBoy inspired curio is powered by that staple of the maker community, the Arduino, neatly packaged together with a sharp 1-bit 128×64 OLED display, 4 directional buttons, and 2 action buttons. It was a guilty impulse purchase sometime around October last year, and I wandered into it without holding out much hope that I’d get around to making anything worth releasing. I was initially drawn in by the promise of constraints, which is a strange pull, but I’ve often been amazed at how programmers for early systems were able to squeeze so much out of some very limited hardware (This article about the original Zelda is a great example). The Arduboy is a neat re-imagining of these early restrictions: A screen where each pixel can only be either on or off; The bare essentials of controls; and strict limitations on processing power, memory, and storage. The game making community has risen to this challenge with a wide range of neat offerings showing off just what can be done within about fixed envelope; the excellent Team-ARG and Jonathan Holmes (check out ‘Circuit Dude’) are just a couple of examples from the dedicated programmers who have adopted this little system. Continue reading “Not Just a Hat Rack: Deconstructing My 8-Bit ‘Masterpiece’”