micro:bit Arcade — Tiny Games for your BBC micro:bit
The micro:bit is an open source hardware ARM-based embedded system designed by the BBC for use in computer education in the United Kingdom. Launched in 2016 it was designed to encourage children to get actively involved in writing software for computers and building new things. About half the size of a credit card it has an ARM processor, accelerometer and magnetometer sensors and USB connectivity. The 'display' is an array of 25 LEDs in a 5x5 matrix and there are two pushbuttons for input.
There is something about limited devices that appeals to me, especially when using them for purposes which they may not have been intended. In the case of the micro:bit taking something which is obviously not designed for making arcade games and squeezing them onto it is both technically and creatively satisfying. Surprisingly the results are actually quite playable, turning a slightly silly creative exercise into something fun.
This book starts from the basic principles of programming micro:bit with Python. We'll first work through some simple Python concepts that we'll be applying in our games, including the micro:bit specific methods we use to read sensors and update the screen. Once we have those we'll start making the games.
For each game we'll revisit the Python you need to understand to make it work, as well as introduce key game-programming concepts which the game is based on. Even though the micro:bit is a very simple device, many of the problems we'll face developing games for it are common to games development on any platform -- particularly hit detection, animation and responsive controls. Once you're finished you will know both how to think about these problems and how to solve them yourself.