Tag Archives: how-to

Create an arcade-style zooming starfield effect | Wireframe issue 13

via Raspberry Pi

Unparalleled depth in a 2D game: PyGame Zero extraordinaire Daniel Pope shows you how to recreate a zooming starfield effect straight out of the eighties arcade classic Gyruss.

The crowded, noisy realm of eighties amusement arcades presented something of a challenge for developers of the time: how can you make your game stand out from all the other ones surrounding it? Gyruss, released by Konami in 1983, came up with one solution. Although it was yet another alien blaster — one of a slew of similar shooters that arrived in the wake of Space Invaders, released in 1978 — it differed in one important respect: its zooming starfield created the illusion that the player’s craft was hurtling through space, and that aliens were emerging from the abyss to attack it.

This made Gyruss an entry in the ‘tube shooter’ genre — one that was first defined by Atari’s classic Tempest in 1981. But where Tempest used a vector display to create a 3D environment where enemies clambered up a series of tunnels, Gyruss used more common hardware and conventional sprites to render its aliens on the screen. Gyruss was designed by Yoshiki Okamoto (who would later go on to produce the hit Street Fighter II, among other games, at Capcom), and was born from his affection for Galaga, a 2D shoot-’em-up created by Namco.

Under the surface, Gyruss is still a 2D game like Galaga, but the cunning use of sprite animation and that zooming star effect created a sense of dynamism that its rivals lacked. The tubular design also meant that the player could move in a circle around the edge of the play area, rather than moving left and right at the bottom of the screen, as in Galaga and other fixed-screen shooters like it. Gyruss was one of the most popular arcade games of its period, probably in part because of its attention-grabbing design.

Here’s Daniel Pope’s example code, which creates a Gyruss-style zooming starfield effect in Python. To get it running on your system, you’ll first need to install Pygame Zero — find installation instructions here, and download the Python code here.

The code sample above, written by Daniel Pope, shows you how a zooming star field can work in PyGame Zero — and how, thanks to modern hardware, we can heighten the sense of movement in a way that Konami’s engineers couldn’t have hoped to achieve about 30 years ago. The code generates a cluster of stars on the screen, and creates the illusion of depth and movement by redrawing them in a new position in a randomly chosen direction each frame.

At the same time, the stars gradually increase their brightness over time, as if they’re getting closer. As a modern twist, Pope has also added an extra warp factor: holding down the Space bar increases the stars’ velocity, making that zoom into space even more exhilarating.

Get your copy of Wireframe issue 13

You can read the rest of the feature in Wireframe issue 13, available now at Tesco, WHSmith, and all good independent UK newsagents.

Or you can buy Wireframe directly from Raspberry Pi Press — delivery is available worldwide. And if you’d like a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download issue 13 for free in PDF format.

Make sure to follow Wireframe on Twitter and Facebook for updates and exclusive offers and giveaways. Subscribe on the Wireframe website to save up to 49% compared to newsstand pricing!

The post Create an arcade-style zooming starfield effect | Wireframe issue 13 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Minimal ATSAMD21 computer

via Dangerous Prototypes


Johnson Davies shared detailed instructions of how to build an ATSAMD21-based computer on a prototyping board using a 32-pin ATSAMD21E:

If you’re looking for something more powerful than the ATmega328 in the Arduino Uno a good choice is the ATSAMD21. This is an ARM Cortex M0+ processor with up to 256KB flash memory, 32KB RAM, and a 48MHz clock, so it’s substantially better equipped than the ATmega328. In addition it has a USB interface built in, so there’s no need for a separate chip to interface to the serial port.
Arduino have designed several excellent boards based on the ATSAMD21, such as the Arduino Zero or smaller-format MKRZERO. However, these boards are an expensive way to use an ATSAMD21 as the basis for your own project, and they probably include many features you don’t need.

More details on Technoblogy.

Coding Breakout’s brick-breaking action | Wireframe #11

via Raspberry Pi

Atari’s Breakout was one of the earliest video game blockbusters. Here’s how to recreate it in Python.

The original Breakout, designed by Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow, and famously built by a young Steve Wozniak.

Atari Breakout

The games industry owes a lot to the humble bat and ball. Designed by Allan Alcorn in 1972, Pong was a simplified version of table tennis, where the player moved a bat and scored points by ricocheting a ball past their opponent. About four years later, Atari’s Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow figured out a way of making Pong into a single-player game. The result was 1976’s Breakout, which rotated Pong’s action 90 degrees and replaced the second player with a wall of bricks.

Points were scored by deflecting the ball off the bat and destroying the bricks; as in Pong, the player would lose the game if the ball left the play area. Breakout was a hit for Atari, and remains one of those game ideas that has never quite faded from view; in the 1980s, Taito’s Arkanoid updated the action with collectible power-ups, multiple stages with different layouts of bricks, and enemies that disrupted the trajectory of the player’s ball.

Breakout had an impact on other genres too: game designer Tomohiro Nishikado came up with the idea for Space Invaders by switching Breakout’s bat with a base that shot bullets, while Breakout’s bricks became aliens that moved and fired back at the player.

Courtesy of Daniel Pope, here’s a simple Breakout game written in Python. To get it running on your system, you’ll first need to install Pygame Zero. And download the code for Breakout here.

Bricks and balls in Python

The code above, written by Daniel Pope, shows you just how easy it is to get a basic version of Breakout up and running in Python, using the Pygame Zero library. Like Atari’s original, this version draws a wall of blocks on the screen, sets a ball bouncing around, and gives the player a paddle, which can be controlled by moving the mouse left and right. The ball physics are simple to grasp too. The ball has a velocity, vel – which is a vector, or a pair of numbers: vx for the x direction and vy for the y direction.

The program loop checks the position of the ball and whether it’s collided with a brick or the edge of the play area. If the ball hits the left side of the play area, the ball’s x velocity vx is set to positive, thus sending it bouncing to the right. If the ball hits the right side, vx is set to a negative number, so the ball moves left. Likewise, when the ball hits the top or bottom of a brick, we set the sign of the y velocity vy, and so on for the collisions with the bat and the top of the play area and the sides of bricks. Collisions set the sign of vx and vy but never change the magnitude. This is called a perfectly elastic collision.

To this basic framework, you could add all kinds of additional features: a 2012 talk by developers Martin Jonasson and Petri Purho, which you can watch on YouTube here, shows how the Breakout concept can be given new life with the addition of a few modern design ideas.

You can read this feature and more besides in Wireframe issue 11, available now in Tesco, WHSmith, and all good independent UK newsagents.

Or you can buy Wireframe directly from us – worldwide delivery is available. And if you’d like to own a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download a free PDF.

Make sure to follow Wireframe on Twitter and Facebook for updates and exclusives, and for subscriptions, visit the Wireframe website to save 49% compared to newsstand pricing!

The post Coding Breakout’s brick-breaking action | Wireframe #11 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Getting started with your Raspberry Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Here on the Raspberry Pi blog, we often share impressive builds made by community members who have advanced making and coding skills. But what about those of you who are just getting started?

Getting started with Raspberry Pi

For you, we’ve been working hard to update and polish our Getting started resources, including a brand-new video to help you get to grips with your new Pi.

Getting started with Raspberry Pi

Whether you’re new to electronics and the Raspberry Pi, or a seasoned pro looking to share your knowledge and skills with others, sit back and watch us walk you through the basics of setting up our powerful little computer.

How to set up your Raspberry Pi || Getting started with #RaspberryPi

Learn how to set up your Raspberry Pi for the first time, from plugging in peripherals to loading Raspbian.

We’ve tried to make this video as easy to follow as possible, with only the essential explanations and steps.

getting started with raspberry pi

As with everything we produce, we want this video to be accessible to the entire world, so if you can translate its text into another language, please follow this link to submit your translation directly through YouTube. You can also add translations to our other YouTube videos here! As a thank you, we’ll display your username in the video descriptions to acknowledge your contributions.

New setup guides and resources

Alongside our shiny new homepage, we’ve also updated our Help section to reflect our newest tech and demonstrate the easiest way for beginners to start their Raspberry Pi journey. We’re now providing a first-time setup guide, and also a walk-through for using your Raspberry Pi that shows you all sort of things you can do with it. And with guides to our official add-on devices and a troubleshooting section, our updated Help page is your one-stop shop for getting the most out of your Pi.

getting started with raspberry pi

For parents and teachers, we offer guides on introducing Raspberry Pi and digital making to your children and students. And for those of you who are visual learners, we’ve curated a collection of our videos to help you get making.

As with our videos, we’re looking for people whose first language isn’t English to help us translate our resources. If you’re able to donate some of your time to support this cause, please sign up here.

The forums

We’re very proud of our forum community. Since the birth of the Raspberry Pi, our forums have been the place to go for additional support, conversation, and project bragging.

Raspberry Pi forums

If your question isn’t answered on our Help page, there’s no better place to go than the forums. Nine times out of ten, your question will already have been asked and answered there! And if not, then our friendly forum community will be happy to share their wealth of knowledge and help you out.

Events and clubs

Raspberry Pi and digital making enthusiasts come together across the world at various events and clubs, including Raspberry Jams, Code Club and CoderDojo, and Coolest Projects. These events are perfect for learning more about how people use Raspberry Pi and other technologies for digital making — as a hobby and as a tool for education.

getting started with raspberry pi

Keep up to date

To keep track of all the goings-on of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and sign up to our Raspberry Pi Weekly newsletter and the monthly Raspberry Pi LEARN education newsletter.

The post Getting started with your Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Assembly instructions for the STMBL servo drive

via Dangerous Prototypes


Andy Pugh wrote a post on his blog detailing STMBL servo drive assembly:

The main documentation (work in progress) is relevant to both the current and future versions of the drive. However due to the withdrawal from the market of the IRAM256 chip used by the board any future versions are likely to be physically different and assembled differently which is why this is a blog post and not a documentation section.

More details on Bodgesoc Blogsoc blog.

DIY Arduino FM radio

via Dangerous Prototypes


Nick over at educ8s.tv shared detailed instructions of how to build this DIY Art Deco style FM Radio project using Arduino:

Let’s see what we are going to build today! As you can see, we are going to build an Art Deco style FM radio receiver. The design of this radio is based on this spectacular 1935 AWA radio. I discovered this old radio while searching online and also in this book about the most beautiful radios ever made. I loved the design of this radio so much that I wanted to have a similar one. So I devoted a month of my time to build my own.

Full details at educ8s.tv.

Check out the video after the break.