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Building a non-X gamedev build launcher for Raspbian

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:00 pm
by stevepdp
Hey folks

One of the ideas I have around game development for the Raspberry Pi is to work on a build launcher with a similar design to this:


The idea is that my Raspberry Pi would boot to the command line, log itself in and then this launcher would be drawn straight to the frame-buffer (forgive me if the terminology is wrong ;-)). Games will be detected from a local "builds" directory which I'll be transferring files to from my workstation either manually or via a git hook.

The aim really is to avoid launching games on the Raspbian LXDE desktop, since it uses precious resources. I'd also like to bake in X360 controller support so that it can be tightly controlled without the need for a mouse and keyboard, and I'm aware that Python libraries exist for this. I'd want games to be launched as sub-processes (correct me if wrong) so that I can capture useful debugging info, and games could be killed by holding down XBLR or some other button combo.

So I have the idea in place, I'm teaching myself Python at the moment with "Learning Python with Raspberry Pi" and a couple of books focusing on PyGame and I'm looking to take up the C++xx, LUA, SDL/OpenGLES variety of tools in the future (I'm now getting quite a bit ahead of myself)

The questions I have for you today are the following:
  • Is Python the right core-language to be using for this project?
    If Python will do what I am looking for it to do, then which libraries should I be looking at besides the ones I've already mentioned?
    Can PyGame titles actually run without X?
    This launcher will eventually handle projects written with other languages such as C++11, can Python handle the launching of these other binaries?
    The other front-end type languages at my disposal are HTML5, CSS and jQuery. Can these be used if Python isn't recommended?
    Do you think it might be smart to avoid this project and instead just focus on getting the Python skills down?
    Does something like this already exist? I'd hate to reinvent the wheel ;-)
Besides my actual game ideas, this launcher will be my first major software project on the Raspberry Pi, and I'll be using this thread to update my progress.

Thanks for your time.