Game Boy Advance homebrew development forum
Posts: 44

So like, who are you and how did you get here?

I'll go first!

I'm exelotl a.k.a. gecko. I started out making crappy flash animations and ascii art around 2007 when I was 11 years old. I discovered DS homebrew a couple years later, and got serious about programming because I wanted to make my own. It was hard! At college when my programming skills were better I decided to give it another go, and I found the fantastic Tonc tutorial, which left me with a lasting appreciation for the GBA because it's such a well-balanced console that I had fond memories of from when I was a kid.

My first interesting GBA project was a port of Vlambeer's Super Crate Box written in C, which I never finished, but I really want to come back to it some day (I'll probably rewrite it though)! At my first job I met Rik who's a great artist, and we teamed up to make goodboy advance one weekend, which was maybe impressive at the time, but in retrospect it was pretty basic. We've come a long way since then!

These days my favourite programming language is Nim which I'm using to make Goodboy Galaxy with Rik, PyroPyro and friends. I also make electronic music from time to time, though any musical energy I have these days is also being poured into the game... I'd like to finish my first album some day though!

Posts: 13

Well, I'll talk a bit about myself, then.

I'm AntonioND/SKyLyrac. I started coding in an Amstrad CPC when I was around 12, then a bit of Visual Basic a year later. However, I never understood how to make proper games until I discovered Game Maker (versions 5, 6 and 7!).

Eventually I discovered NDS homebrew, when I was 15/16, and I started to learn C. I spent a couple of years creating NDS homebrew while learning C and 3D coding, and then I did a bit of Wii homebrew before switching to PC for a while. I spent a couple of years working on a GB and GBA emulator (GiiBii Advance). At this point I was in university, so I didn't have that much free time, and I slowed down a lot.

After a few years I got tired of PC and rediscovered GB homebrew. I spent a couple of years creating GB games such as uCity and demos (and improving the toolchain I was using, RGBDS). I got tired of this as well, because developing in GB assembly is super slow and painful, and I decided to try GBA for the first time, where I've created a couple of libraries like libugba and GBT Player, and I ported my uCity to GBA!

Now I'm back to NDS homebrew, I've even been improving my 3D engine for NDS but I'm still interested in GBA development, as they are very similar machines!

Posts: 12

I'm Sean, aka velipso. My personal website is

I started programming for the GBA in 2002 I think, but put it down and didn't touch it for about 20 years :-P.

I started back up again after becoming utterly fed up with constantly shifting technology. Some of my SDL projects died after an OS update, and it was the last straw. At first I considered making my own virtual console, until it dawned on me that the GBA is the perfect real console for 2D game programming.

Me and my partner have been working on a puzzle game over the past year, which we hope to launch a kickstarter for in the next couple months. I've been doing the programming and music, she's been doing the art and animations. Our company is called Pocket Pulp (, and we've also launched physical puzzles this past year, which are for sale.

I'm writing it in assembly using an assembler I made (gvasm), and spent a lot of time writing a music engine too (gvsong) -- specifically, getting it to play at 32kHz sample rate. The GBA is notorious for poor sound, so I wanted to spend extra attention to get the best quality I could.

- Sean aka velipso // Inky and the Alien Aquarium

Posts: 25

I'm pmprog, short for Polymath Programming, you'll probably find my name around, sometimes spelt differently too, but that's a story I'll leave for another day :)

I started on a Commodore 64 learning BASIC, mostly to load games at the start, then to make some simple applications and games. I shifted up to an Amiga 600, but never really found my feet programming for it. I remember playing a bit with AMOS though. But I really started to cut my teeth on my dad's 386 using QBasic. Interestingly though, I moved to learning x86 Assembly language, as I couldn't wrap my head around C at the time.

As time progressed, Visual Basic 3 came out, so I moved up to that for writing applications, I'd pretty much stopped trying to make games, until a few years down the line when I discovered the likes of SDL 1.2 and Allegro 4, where I then put some effort into learning C (and C++).

My day is consumed mostly at work coding a business platform in C#, and my hobby development tends to result in me writing thousands of game framework/engines without actually producing a game out of any of them.

Growing up, I had a Gameboy and later a Gameboy Colour, but always liked the idea of a GBA, so when I discovered the GBAJam 2021, I figured, why not? Tigermoth never got properly finished, or polished. To be honest, I don't really play bullet hell games, so it was all shots in the dark. Still, it was something that was "playable", which is far more than I'd accomplished with most of my other projects.

Watching Shallan50k's stream one night, he was doing Doc Cosmos for the GBC, and talk in the chat about Luma, a charity stream puzzle game for the C64. I asked if I could port it to the GBA, which he was happy for me to do, and put me in touch with the publisher... I now have a shiny box with a GBA cart of a game I've made (well, ported...). Feels good, though I can imagine it'd be better if it was a game I'd designed. Still... I donated all my proceeds from the game to a foodbank charity, in line with Shallan's original construction of the game.

I tried to get registered for Switch development, but was rejected. Maybe due to no previous commercial release (Luma hadn't been released at that point), or maybe because I didn't really have a plan for what I wanted to make on the Switch... I doubt either helped.

I started trying to build a GBA Game Maker tool, which has generally stalled, mostly because of my frustrations with modern technology, and my prodominant move over to Linux. As my preferred GUI toolkit is WinForms with dotNET, which doesn't work under Linux. WPF/Avalonia/MAUI rub me up the wrong way; and I switched between those Qt/C++ a couple of times. The constant jumping between certainly isn't helping either.

I think the main reason I rarely finish a game project is basically everything other than programming. My art skills are woefully lacking; and my musicality is worse. I know people tend to pull in other assets as placeholders, I don't really like doing that, for some reason.

I have an idea for a couple of brand new games (might prototype on PC first, as should be quicker), and also considering if I can get permission to port an old C64 game to the GBA (though need to try and prototype it a bit first)... The GBA Maker isn't out the window completely yet either, and maybe I'll use that as a basis to build my next GBA game. We'll see.

Posts: 1

I'm Rosholger. I started programming with gamemaker when I was 14/15, around 2009, but I have never managed to finish anything (gamedev is hard!).
I started programming a game for the GBA late 2019, but real life made my stop working on it in the autumn of 2020.
Now 2 years later I have started again and I will hopefully be able to keep at it for a little longer.
I also dabble in art and music, but I am pretty bad at both (better at art than music).

Posts: 1

I'm Lambda (or Lyrian, or Lysander, or ...). The GBA and DS were my childhood (I still have my cyan GBA SP from when I was 7!), and around 15 years old I began teaching myself programming. Mostly just following whatever semi-obscure hyperfixations I happened to fall into, and picking up a few interesting languages on the way. Start of 2021 I got myself a flashcard and found my way into the gbadev discord, though truth be told it's been so long I don't remember how it happened, haha ^^

I ended up taking a deep dive into the hardware, as well as how every part of the toolchain worked, and generally have a big fascination for everything low-level and tooling-related. Around August 2021 I started libseven, my personal labour of love and attempt at building a really solid foundational library for GBA development. Since then, much has happened in my life, but I'm still working quite feverishly at it, now in the form of sdk-seven. In general, I've made all sorts of efforts to make GBA development more accessible to new people, because it really is such an important little machine to me. In the future, I plan to expand into the DS homebrew world as well!

I also hang out in the discord a bunch, helping people troubleshoot, answering questions and generally discussing all sorts of things. Among other things, I also helped to set up this very forum!

Posts: 1

Hi! I'm NotImplementedLife (NotImpLife/N•I•L). Even though I discovered the Nintendo handhelds later in my childhood, they managed to catch a significant part of my interest. My first console ever was a Game Boy Advance SP, quickly followed by a DS. My passion for homebrew started when I was ~12yo and lucky enough to google something like "how to make a game for NDS" without even hoping for an answer to my extremely foolish (back then) question. But that way I learned about devkitPro and I felt a warm calling towards game development (I didn't even know it was called like that). I spent the next years slowly digging down into the matter. Every piece of information was extremely valuable for me. I won't ever forget the excitement when I first managed to compile a libnds example (2016) and messing around with code I didn't understand and failing and learning and questioning and dreaming. However, my directions had remained foggy for quite a long time. As a kid I wanted to make my own GBA game, though I knew nothing about it. Moreover, the more I was doing DS programming, the more I started to realize it was almost impossible to reach with my current knowledge and position (at the time I only understood bitmap modes, no sprites or anything, also I was a Free Pascal guy anxiously transiting to C++). I attempted several times writing a Pokémon clone at least for the PC, but many of my ideas collapsed under their own complexity that I was surely starting to experience, understand, and finally accept as a fact.

The most recent times came with a great deal of luck and inspired decisions and saw possibility in my old wishes ultimately being fulfilled. I joined the GBDev Discord intending to learn assembly at a time when I would have been supposed to focus on other stuff like studying for my language exams and preparing for the college and stuff but I didn't really cared about that more than about homebrew. Compared to the beginnings, progress in the last two years was astounding. Things I used to wonder about in the past suddenly started to make sense. Also, I met lots of new people in the process (hi everyone, and thank you). I have a modest library of games published on my page, and every single project, successful or not, taught me a lot about the coding itself, my style, my limits and the unbelievable beauty of the gaming systems of the era. I'm grateful to everything that happened so far, though I guess I ultimately kept being a child who has no clue what to do with his life (that's why it's not... implemented?) but all he wants is to make his very own game.

Favorite games:

  • Pokémon Emerald
  • Animal Crossing: Wild World (unfortunately my younger self lost the cartridge in a school trip :( ... )
  • The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
  • Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Owned systems:

  • GBA
  • GBA SP
  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo DS Lite
  • Nintendo DSi XL
  • Nintendo Switch (currently no intention for dev/homebrew on this one)

Love. Peace. Homebrew.

Posts: 2

I'm Nuclear (in the demoscene: Nuclear/The Lab, Nuclear/Mindlapse, and Codeninja/MLFC). I started programming in BASIC on a ZX Spectrum when I was a kid, and later moved first to Turbo Pascal, and then C/C++ and assembly under MS-DOS in the mid/late 90s.

I never was very much into consoles, preferring PC games, so unconventionally my interest in the GBA did not start from a gaming perspective. When I found out about the wonderful little ARM device in 2003-2004 and about the availability of flash cartridges for it, I bought one (a black GBA SP which I still have and use today) expressly for the purpose of programming it, together with a flash2advance cartridge.

My main interest in the GBA initially was to make demos for it, which I never ended up doing (maybe one day). Instead I wrote a few standalone effects, released a thin abstraction library which I called "libgba", later renamed to "gbasys", and which I don't use any more, and wrote a now very dated guide for setting up a build environment for the GBA.

Eventually I also played a couple games on the GBA, mostly Irridion2 and Doom, but most often just my old original GameBoy tetris cartridge.

As much as I enjoy GBA programming, I didn't end up finishing many projects on it. I made a Magic the Gathering life counter which I used extensively myself while playing magic, and a simple classic-style tetris game to avoid having to carry the bulky original tetris cartridge with me (I don't like any of the more modern tetris variants I tried).

Posts: 7

I'm Nikku4211.

I've played several retro video game systems through hand-me-downs from my parents and older brother. This includes, GB, GBC, GBA, DS, SNES, NES, Mega Drive, Dreamcast, PS2, PS1, and early CD-ROM Windows games.

I started programming in QBASIC on DOSBox back in 2013 when I was 10. I then started learning a bit of 65816 assembly, and then started learning HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and then learned more 65816 assembly, and then learned C. I later took a high school course on Python, and a college course on more Python as well as C++ before dropping out of college. I then brushed up on some 2A03 assembly (which landed me an actual online job with Something Nerdy Studios) and now I'm getting into coding on the GBA for the first time.

I've tried a bit of Butano, and I am currently trying SDK-Seven.

I also draw pixel art and make tracker music. I'm really interested in using the GBA like a 6-channel system, like a GB but with 2 extra PCM channels, I personally prefer that over softmixing.

Posts: 18

Around the internet, I go by just e9. That's not my legal name but it's good enough right?

Growing up in the 90s to 2000s, my Game Boy was my oldest friend and constant companion. It never betrayed or threatened me, and I could always find a new world to explore or challenge to conquer when I'd otherwise be sitting on my hands at the dentist office or riding the bus. Pokemon made up 90% of my playtime back then.

Since computers and the internet were blowing up and revolutionizing daily life around that time, I learned a great deal about software and played a ton of early FPS games whenever I could. This included installing Doom on every school computer I possibly could and being a thorn in my sysadmin's side.

I'm currently learning all I possibly can to make weird projects using a Doom engine source port that's changed hands multiple times, most notably ported from PC to the GBA by Doomhack. My fork is called Tantalus, named after a Greek mythological figure cursed to have his desires just out of reach. It's a mess, but it's fun.