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gbdev/awesome-gbdev

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A curated list of Game Boy development resources such as tools, docs, emulators, related projects and open-source ROMs.
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A curated list of awesome Game Boy (Color) Development resources, tools, docs, related projects and open-source ROMs. Inspired by the awesomestars220.2k list thing.

You can find a (way cooler) web version of this list here.

Contents

Introduction

Disambiguation

Game Boy Advance

Game Boy Advance development is covered by another project, the awesome-gbadevstars557 list. GBA, however, can run GB/GBC games. It does so in a slightly different way compared to native hardware: this is covered in the Emulator Development section of this list.

Game Boy Color and Super Game Boy

This list is focused on the original Game Boy (GB or DMG, 1989), the Game Boy Color (GBC or CGB) and the Super Game Boy (SGB) are very similar systems, with a few important distinctions, such as:

  • Different hardware specifications;
  • Specific hardware and software features;
  • Specific registers;
  • Specific bugs, quirks and exploitable behaviours.

If you aim to develop your software for SGB or GBC, or you want to know how it runs on the other systems, you may want to take advantage and adapt to these differences, check the Game Boy Color category and look for specific references to GBC/CGB and SGB.

Community

Documentation

Opcodes

  • gb-opcodes - Opcodes table
  • RGBDS opcodes reference - A reference of all instructions, including short descriptions, cycle and byte counts, and explanations of flag modifications.

Game Boy Color

Hardware

Peripherals

Cartridges

Custom cartridges

Misc

Emulator Development

Testing

Software Development

The Choosing tools for Game Boy development essay provides an overview of the available development tools for Game Boy.

Assemblers

Compilers

Experimental/Proof of Concepts

Emulators

  • BGB - Powerful emulator and debugger. Provides an accurate hardware emulation.
  • SameBoystars1.1k - Accurate emulator with a wide range of powerful debugging features.
  • Mooneye GBstars775 - Research project and emulator in Rust.
  • mGBAstars4k - Modern cross platform GBA emulator which also runs GB/GBC games.
  • Binjgbstars378 - 5Kloc emulator that passes most of the tests. *Rewind- feature. Runs in the browser using WebAssembly.
  • Gambattestars385 - Cross-platform and accurate emulator.
  • MetroBoystars980 - A playable, circuit-level simulation of an entire Game Boy.
  • gbe-plusstars371 - A recently rewritten emulator that has a large effort in preserving the functions of obscure accessories (such as IR link, Mobile Network GB, Barcode Boy, GB Printer, local and online GB Serial Link Cable, ... )
  • Emulicious - Provides accurate emulation and includes powerful tools such as a profiler and source-level debugging for ASM and C via a VS Code debug adapter.

Complete list of open source emulators

Tools

Engines

  • ZGBstars522 - A little engine for creating games for the original Game Boy (expands gbdk, more info here).
  • Retr0 GB - An engine for creating games (expands GBDK).

Development tools

  • GBExtended - C library extending gbdk.
  • gbdk-lib-extensionstars11 - A small set of sources and tools for the Game Boy Development Kit by Michael Hope.
  • Dot Matrix Game Editor - An IDE for Game Boy programming in a C-like language called GBL, with many other features like tile and map extraction, WLA-DX assembly, and more.
  • mgbdisstars176 - Game Boy ROM disassembler with RGBDS compatible output.
  • ROM Header Utility - An online tool to inspect and modify a ROM's header data, including the logo.
  • romusagestars18 - Command line tool for estimating usage (free space) of Game Boy ROMs from a .map, .noi or ihx file. Works with GBDK-2020 and RGBDS.
  • awakestars56 - Game Boy decompiler.
  • Game Boy Text Toolsstars8 - Set of tools for text manipulation and translation of Game Boy ROMs written in Node.js.

Graphics utilities

  • Game Boy Tile Data Generatorstars79 - HTML5 / JS web application that will convert bitmap images to hexadecimal data appropriate for use in tile based graphical applications, specifically GB.
  • Harry Mulder's GB Development - Some sources and home of Game Boy Tile Designer (GBTD) and Game Boy Map Builder (GBMB) tools.
  • GBTilesstars15 - Converts .GBR files created with Harry Mulder's Tile Designer (GBTD) and .GBM files created with Harry Mulder's Map Builder (GBMB) to different formats for use with the Game Boy and GBDK.
  • bmp2cgbstars22 - Graphics converter for Game Boy Color development providing real time palette adjustments.
  • png2gbstars19 - CLI tool to convert image file to game boy .c array.
  • GB-convertstars26 - Game Boy tile conversion and map editor tool (converts to assembly).
  • brewtool - A collection of primitive editor/converter tools for making assets used with homebrew ROM development.
  • vtGBtestars26 - A minimalistic ncurses tile editor.
  • tpp1stars16 - Definition and specification of a custom GB/GBC memory/hardware mapper, as a functional superset of MBC.
  • libstdgbstars10 - A C library of useful Game Boy operations (SDCC).
  • Tilemap GBstars43 - GIMP image editor plug-in for importing & exporting GBMB and GBTD tilemaps and tilesets (as bitmap images or .GBM/.GBR files).
  • Tilemap Helperstars21 - GIMP image editor plug-in for optimizing tile maps and tile sets.
  • Tilemap Studiostars222 - A tilemap editor for Game Boy, Color, Advance, and SNES projects. Written in C++ with FLTK.
  • Superfamiconvstars94 - Flexible and composable tile graphics converter supporting Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Mega Drive and PC Engine formats.

Hardware and ROM utilities

Music drivers and trackers

  • DevSoundstars48 - Sound driver embeddable in homebrews which supports pulse width manipulation, arpeggios, and multiple waveforms.
  • Carillon Player - Music Engine.
  • GBT PLAYERstars236 - A music player library and converter kit.
  • mmlgbstars33 - A MML parser and GBDK sound driver for the Nintendo Game Boy.
  • XPMCKstars23 - An MML based music compiler with support for Game Boy & Game Boy Color.
  • SoundSystem - A modernized audio driver for GameBoy Tracker (aka the Paragon 5 music player).
  • hUGETrackerstars163 - A music tracker based on OpenMPT, focused on ease of use, compact output, and embeddability in homebrew games.
  • CBT-FXstars6 - A GBDK-2020 sound effect driver compatible with FX-Hammer sound effects.

Programming

Guides, tutorials and tools to develop software for Game Boy using the development toolchains described in the Software Development chapter.

ASM

Sources

Fragments of code, effects, proof of concepts and generally non complete games.

  • dev'rs ASM section - A lot of working demos and sources.
  • EmmaEwert's experimentsstars15 - A collection of prototype programs, mostly just toying around. Among others, a daylight effect, transparency and a weather effect.
  • DeadCScrollstars4 - A detailed tutorial on how to make the screen wobble, among other "raster effects"

Timings

Boilerplates and libraries

Syntax highlighting packages

C

Homebrews

Complete and open source games.

  • Homebrew Hub - A community-led attempt to collect, archive and preserve every unlicensed and homebrew game released for Game Boy. Entries are playable online.

ASM

C

GB Studio

Demos

Reverse Engineering

Game Disassemblies

Game Boy Camera

Retrieving images

Game Boy Printer emulation (e.g. to retrieve images from the camera):

Changing the camera's behavior

Methods to improve and/or manipulate the camera's quality and behavior:

Post processing

Directories

Websites