guile-2d - A 2D Game Development Framework for GNU Guile

August 07, 2013

This is the very first devlog entry for my pet project, guile-2d. As the title suggests, guile-2d is a 2D game development framework for GNU Guile, a Scheme implementation that has the honor of being the official extension language of the GNU project. Guile is a language with a growing number of features, but it still lacks a large assortment of libraries. I like to do 2D game programming, and I saw a niche that needed to be filled. Python has Pygame, Lua has Love, but there’s no fun and accessible game programming library for Guile. Guile-2d is working to correct that.

The goal of Guile-2d is to create an easy to use 2D game programming framework. Libraries like SDL give the programmer a rather low-level set of tools that they can use to build a game, guile-2d will provide high-level tools over low-level SDL and OpenGL for commonly used elements of 2D games: tile maps, sprite animation, particle systems, collision detection, vector math, A* pathfinding, etc. Such features will allow a game developer to very quickly produce a working prototype with guile-2d.

Guile-2d is a framework, which means that it has some opinion about what the right way to do things is. The most apparent example of this is the game loop. The game loop runs at 60 frames-per-second and uses fixed timestep updates. Those that have read Fix Your Timestep will know that this decision is a good thing.

Perhaps the most important feature of guile-2d is the ability to do “live coding”. When the game loop starts, a REPL (read-eval-print-loop) server is started. Using the great Geiser extension for Emacs to connect to the REPL server, one can modify their game as it is running. This gives users the power to evaluate some new code and see the changes reflected immediately in the game window. No need to restart the game unless you crash it!

This has been a brief overview of some of the features and goals of guile-2d. If this project interests you, you can check out the source code on Github.