Carl's Lynx Lab

Last updated 07/15/97

Here's a peek into my top-secret Lynx development lab... it's pretty simple, actually.

First, I obtained a special developer's cart from Bastian Schick. This cart allows the Lynx to receive a code download across the comlynx cable directly into Lynx RAM. This means that the entire set of Lynx RAM and hardware (Suzy, Mikey, etc.) are available to the developer. This also means that development can be done on any platform, just as long as you generate a 65C02-based binary when you're finished. The entire download process generally takes between 20 and 90 seconds, depending on how much of the 64K RAM you occupy. The only downside here is that your game is limited by RAM, and once you account for screen buffers and other data, you generally have about 45K left to work with.

In my case, I'm using a comlynx cable hacked to the IBM PC parallel port (thanks to Kurt Olsen!). Bastian now includes a serial-to-comlynx cable, which I've also used on the PC.

On the software side of things, I use a (gasp!) C compiler, specifcally a port of CC65 started by Kurt and now maintained by Bastian on his web pages. This is not the greatest compiler in the world yet in terms of efficiency and compactness of code, but we have all the sources, and it's slowly being improved over time. Over 90% of the code I write is in C (the rest of course being 65C02 assembly), and so far the C code has been plenty fast for my purposes.

Other tools exist or are being created... I've written my own tool to convert PCX graphic files into a C header file in a Lynx-compatible format; others have written similar tools. My SFX program is an audio tool for sound tinkerers. Several download programs exist for getting the data to the Lynx. Work has even started on a C library for Lynx functions, for common needs like flipping the screen, installing interrupt handlers, etc.

All in all, there's never been a better time to develop for the Lynx. It's still among the best handhelds available, and boasts some of the best networked games on any platform.

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Copyright © 1997 by Carl Forhan. All rights reserved.