Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Self-Contained Arduino Esplora Game

Ok, the Arduino Esplora has been out about 3 weeks.  It's time we had some cool software for it and what better than a fun game.  Today I publish a game for running on the Esplora with an Adafruit 1.8" display.
Esplora with an Adafruit display and 5 volt battery 

The Esplora comes with an example where you may use it as a wired controller for a Tux Kart game.  Not much fun.  With my definition of the "Display Header" and my supposition that the Esplora is a pin match for the Adafruit 1.8" TFT LCD Display make it possible to have the Esplora with display as a standalone game machine.  Make sure you get the Adafruit display breakout and not the Arduino shield version.  The Esplora's AT32U4 chip (Leonardo derivative) is not a powerhouse but many creative people have coded good games for classic Arduinos.

This project originated by R0D0T with his engineered handheld game consisting of a AT328 (classic Arduino processor) with a 1.8" TFT display, accelerometer, buzzer, buttons, and battery.  Details are on his blog and on Hackaday.  He was hoping to engineer his hardware as an ultracheap gaming platform.  Then the Arduino Team released the Esplora with nearly the same hardware set (minus battery).  I really feel for him.

Gameplay, flick your wrist to control the ball
I was looking for a game that was more than the basics to show off the Esplora + Display combo.  I found R0D0T's code and with accelerometer, music, and display, it was a great match.  As I use the Arduino IDE, I merged the code, changed the display library to Adafruit's, and recreated a couple library routines that R0D0T had used but had no Adafruit equivalent.  Then I had to map the buttons (which required Esplora library calls), and the accelerometer (which I originally used hardware but changed over to library calls).  I mapped the SPI interface to the display and it worked!  Some small tweeks to color and alignment but it is basically still R0D0T's original (a tribute to his ninja-coding).

I strapped a 5V battery to it for portability.  You can use USB power (keep a loose cord as you will be flicking your wrist).  Orient the Esplora with the joystick at top and buttons below.  Then the right button (top in landscape mode) is the "bonus effects" on button.  The bonus effects are Jet Pack, Frog Legs, Testosterone, and Low gravity.  After turning bonus on via the button, you strike a colored platform to get the bonus to activate.

You can get the code on my public Github account at

For gameplay, I refer to R0D0T's original Youtube Video and a short Youtube Video I did today.


I'm sorry my video is sideways, I need to learn yet again if I use the camera in portrait mode that it will not look right.

I hope you all download the code and have some fun with your Esplora!

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