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Update on where things are heading

Posted by blewisjr, 25 February 2013 · 403 views

Hey GDNet,

I know I don't post often enough a lot of this has to due with me being boged down with school + a full time job. The other reason is that I don't really tinker around with game programming that much anymore either. I still want to learn opengl at some point or another but this has been put on the back burner. Hopefully I can return to this goal at a later date when there are some better resources available aka if the new red book turns out to be written right this time.

On another note one thing I have wanted to get into for a long time is embedded development through microcontrollers (MCU). The reasoning behind this is it overall can make you a better developer. You have very small ammount of resources available that you need to use sparingly. Not to mention more often then not you get to use Assembly. I have always wanted to learn Assembly not to use for a project but to make myself a better developer. The reason this holds true is that in order to utilize Assembly you need to understand the bare metal architecture of the chip you are using. x86 and x86_64 are very complex architectures with huge ammounts of instructions and it make it difficult to learn. So one way is to instead use a MCU and then gradually work your way up.

My end goal project for this would be to make an 8-bit game I write like say asteroids run on a MCU. I asked for advice on a forum on what hardware I should look at to get to this goal and I was told I should look into Atmel Mega chips. Initially I was looking at the 8-bit PIC chips made by microchip. On the microchip forums I was told I am in for a big learning curve and PIC is probably a bad choice for an 8-bit game because the call stack is small and the ram/flash space is tiny. They also said the C compilers are bloated unless you buy a professional one. UH this is the point. The original gameboy ran a modified Z80 chip made by sharp. The actual specs of the chip are easily matched by the PIC 8-bit MCU's. So I decided to go with PIC anyway because from what I have read they have the better dev tools and are more then capable to compete with a Atmel Mega and are cheaper to get started with and have tons of documentation.

So despite this advice I made my order. This is what I bought there is a link to the store page if you are interested on this description page.
http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1406&dDocName=en559587 In the side bar there is a link to buy/sample options if you want to look at buying one yourself.

I think this will be a great chip to start with as it has 12 tutorials in assembly & c the IDE as well as the programmer demo board and 2 MCU chips a PIC16F and PIC18F. The PIC16 is the mid range PIC 8-bit MCU and the PIC18 is the High End PIC 8-bit MCU. The tutorials cover both chips.

Wish me luck this is going to be FUN!!!!! I will try to post my progress here if you are interested. I still may end up making an outside blog instead not sure yet but if I do I will for sure kick a linkback here.

That is all for now have fun and code well.




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