News Article

Petit Computer Lets You Make Games on Your DSi and 3DS

Posted by James Newton

Coming soon

Gamebridge has announced it's bringing DSiWare game creation software Petit Computer to North America this summer.

The package serves as an introduction to the BASIC programming language that's powered games for decades. If you're not artistically inclined you can use the 512 pre-packed sprites and 256 backgrounds, or using the DSi's touch screen to draw your own.

After you've finished coding and tweaking you can share your creations online with other users by generating QR codes using a PC or Mac. This way you'll be able to pick at others' code to see how they've created their titles, a feature we can see being very popular.

Petit Computer is out on DSiWare and in the eShop later this year. You can find out more at the Petit Computer site. Want to see the sort of thing you can create with it? Here's a DSiWare rendition of Out Run:

Petit Computer

Petit Computer is the American name of a Japanese DSiWare title called “Puchicom” by Smileboom. “Petit Computer” will be released by Gamebridge in America in Summer 2012.

Petit Computer is a BASIC programming language tool for DSiWare. Using the virtual keyboard on the Touch Screen, users can enter programming commands to create their own BASIC source code.

The first version of the software was released in Japan in March 2011 and has received a large following of users in Japan. The first version only allowed users to save their program source code within the Puchikon program, preventing users from exchanging their source code. As a result users have been videoing their code and uploading the video to youtube.

Do you recognize any of these?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDTPketCpMc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJYmkN0RZno&feature=relmfu

In February 2012, one year after the release of the original version, Smileboom released a new and enhanced MkII version of the program in Japan. MkII has several major improvements including the ability to save your BASIC program source code to a SD card. Using a computer to access the Petit Computer website users can then convert their source code into QR Codes so others can read-in their programs using the Camera in their Nintendo DSi or Nintendo 3DS as a QR Code reader.

It is the latest MKII version that Gamebridge will release in America this summer as “Petit Computer”.

Features
Petit Computer is DSiWare for your Nintendo DSi/3DS. Many Nintendo DSi features can be accessed by Petit Computer using the BASIC programming language.

Fast and colorful sprites, BG screens (screen mode specialized for drawing backgrounds), graphic capabilities, and Touch Screen input are supported by the Nintendo DSi.

Petit Computer comes preloaded with 512 sprites. It also includes 256 BG chips for use in backgrounds. And by changing colors and rotating, the world of possibilities gets even wider.

You can use MML syntax to simultaneously play an 8-channel melody and trigger 16 sounds at once. The available 128 basic tones (instruments), 68 drums, 8 patterns of PSG (duty cycles), and noise can be freely combined to create the sounds you want.

Petit Computer comes with features that allow other people to see the programs you create. When you have a friend nearby, you can use your Nintendo DSi's Wireless Communications feature to exchange programs.

And when you want to release a program to an even wider audience, you can save it onto an SD Card, load it onto your PC, and then use a browser to convert it into a QR code that lets you easily make your work public. These programs can then be loaded onto a Nintendo DSi by using its camera to scan the resulting QR code.

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User Comments (94)

tovare

#3

tovare said:

My initial tought was that this would be even less fun than the Machine language assembler cartridge on the Philips Videopac G7000 console, but then again it might be very cool if there was a sensible way to type in programs. Anyone know if a bluetooth keyboard would work on dsiware titles, or is that just 3DS ?

Mk_II

#5

Mk_II said:

very clever and innovative program. Im sure it will be a lot of hard work to get something half decent out of it but the concept is amazing.

edhe

#6

edhe said:

Release this in Europe.

By the way, how does music work - do you choose from a list of tracks built in, or can you compose it yourself?

Wouldn't it be great if in the future they released an app like this that works together with Rytmik for example for the music?

StarDust4Ever

#7

StarDust4Ever said:

I used to write games on my graphing calculator back in the day. I my get this if for no other reason than to dabble around with it and load other people's games. The only thing that remains to be seen, is if somebody creates an expansive game, would it even be possible to stuff the entire contents into a QR code?

Expa0

#8

Expa0 said:

I'm always rooting for games that let you make your own content, if it ever comes to Europe I might even consider getting it.

SanFrisco9er

#11

SanFrisco9er said:

Reminds of Wario Ware D.I.Y. and how i could never go online in that game b/c of it being WEP :[

WiiLovePeace

#12

WiiLovePeace said:

Wow this looks awesome, I wondered if they would ever release this program outside of Japan & now they have :D Now all they gotta do is release it to Europe/Australia. What I'm wondering is, will other's need the program to play the games I would make? Or can they just load it up & play it DS download style? The press release makes it sound like games made in this program can be played by all, which I hope is the case. Outrun looked really awesome too :D

cammy

#13

cammy said:

What a neat idea. I have fond memories of programming in Basic on the Acorn and Electron. But the keyboard input might be a pain. I wonder can you modify the source files on the SD card offline and then upload them to the game?

James

#14

James said:

@WiiLovePeace Yes, other people will need Petit Computer to play the games, this isn't a full-on SDK.

@edhe I believe you can write your own tunes but not sure how; the Out Run video clearly has a tune from the game in it, so I presume you can make your own fairly easily!

Supremeist

#15

Supremeist said:

It's not really appealing to me, but for people who have the time, patience, and effort for it, it seems like a cool grab

Ralph

#16

Ralph said:

This looks great but will it be coming to the Europe? If so I will buy it straight away. Can't wait.

@edhe
"You can use MML syntax to simultaneously play an 8-channel melody and trigger 16 sounds at once. The available 128 basic tones (instruments), 68 drums, 8 patterns of PSG(duty cycles), and noise can be freely combined to create the sounds you want. You can also create your own 128 x 64 waveform patterns(steps x hours) and add 32 additional tones that can be used in MML."

Chris720

#17

Chris720 said:

Umm... no... this looks horrible. Hello WarioWare D.I.Y. it's simple, but it works.

BulbasaurusRex

#19

BulbasaurusRex said:

Wow, I wasn't expecting a Western release. As a Computer Science Major who dabbles in Q-Basic from time to time, I'll have to pick this up.

Damagemanual

#22

Damagemanual said:

This could be really great with the QR codes added. I'm sure there will be some amazing stuff done with it. The thought of having to input all that code with the touchscreen keyboard makes me feel a bit ill.

Kirk

#23

Kirk said:

It sounds pretty cool but I wonder how simple it is to actually use for anyone that isn't already a programmer or total geek. I'd like to use something like this to actually learn basic programming without the need for complex software and compilers or whatever it is you normally need for this kind of stuff. Is it any good for that?

FonistofCruxis

#24

FonistofCruxis said:

This seems interesting, especially as I'm interested in having a job designing games when I'm older. I hope this comes to Europe.

Fabian

#25

Fabian said:

I want it after making so many Games in Wario Ware DIY I can´t wait t make a real game n my 3DS pleas bring it to Europe.By the way can you do more then 1 level for your Game?

Phle

#28

Phle said:

Wow, maybe I could make something, even if it probably wouldn't look very good... I would love that, hope it get's an european release.

NTELLIGENTMAN

#29

NTELLIGENTMAN said:

I wonder if I could finally learn computer programming with this program, because BASIC on the Atari Anthology for the PS2 is still over my head.

Rawk_Hawk

#31

Rawk_Hawk said:

Hmmm...I think there on to a great concept here and I like the version of Outrun. I may look into this as long as it handholds me through the game making process.

Wheels2050

#32

Wheels2050 said:

Sounds like a cool little package!

I wonder what it's like using the keyboard - I imagine that might get frustrating after a while. I'd be interested to see what people manage to come up with (I often think that the most interesting part of these sorts of programs is seeing what people come up with within the limitations of the software).

Of course, it won't replace full-on programming on a PC, but the learning curve is probably much larger there!

Megajack

#36

Megajack said:

Awsome! getting this day 1. Ive always wanted to make an RPG even though im not a big fan of em. they just look fun to make.

sillygostly

#39

sillygostly said:

In theory, the entire game could probably fit into a QR code, but the code graphic would be ENORMOUS... and I'm not sure if the 3DS' state-of-the-art 0.3 megapixel cameras would be able to capture an image that size and retain all of the programming code.

sillygostly

#40

sillygostly said:

Unless of course the programming code could be split up into a series of smaller QR codes that, when accumulated, form a game.

Barbiegurl777

#41

Barbiegurl777 said:

I might pass on this look's way to complicated to try to figure out & just don't have enough patience for this sort of thing. I got freakyform's 3dsware & it's almost the same thing only less complicated which is the way I like it.

Plus I already make up my own character's & scenery in freakyform's it'd just be a waste of money to buy about the same thing in especially dsiware.

I like dsiware but push comes to shove I like 3dsware much more better. Sorry...

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

The_Fox

#45

The_Fox said:

Using a virtual keyboard on the 3DS to type in programming commands? That sounds awkward as hell.

ogo79

#48

ogo79 said:

i honestly think this is cool, and for everyone else heres your chance to make earthbound if you dont want to buy it...

Bazly

#52

Bazly said:

Honestly, this is the type of thing that, regardless of how good or bad it is, I could spend HOURS wasting time on. DEFINITELY going to get this DAY ONE. It could be utter crap and I will still be playing around with it for weeks.

Nintendo3DSLife

#53

Nintendo3DSLife said:

wow,very interesting app.I guess i'll be getting this game and try to create my own games that comes to my mind lol.:)

Virl

#54

Virl said:

I think its great that more companies (like us!) are creating ways for people to make their own games. I hope these guys do well!

Ayer99

#55

Ayer99 said:

Being a somewhat experience game programmer, it is hard enough with a full keyboard in front of you. Yes, some people will make use of this, but at the end of the day, they could be doing so much more in a more capable compiler....

Barbiegurl777

#58

Barbiegurl777 said:

I'm not so sure if letting people make there own games is a great idea or not... at least not in the video game area.

If people can make there own games then why would they want to buy games from stores?

They would just say why buy the game if they can make a duplicate of it to play. All you have to do is watch a few video's off of youtube & google a few screenshots.

This might not be one of nintendo's better idea's putting this in the e-shop...

I might try this game but am really on the fence about it. Plus to program stuff... Doesn't that requires someone that's at a genius intelligence level??? (o_O)

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

spamineggs

#59

spamineggs said:

I love stuff like this! I got Inchworm animation because of the potential, and I'll most likely get this too!

Morpheel

#61

Morpheel said:

@ymmas626: Making your own game is as easy as downloading Game Maker for free on a PC or Mac.
With this little tool you'll need to learn a version of BASIC if you want to make anything playable. 4 out of 10 gamers who buy this won't even be able to to produce anything useful and won't use the app more than once before deleting it. So don't worry.

LittleKing

#62

LittleKing said:

@ymnas626

Yes, because we all can look at a screen shot of Cave Story and program it in 1.2 nanoseconds. That's like saying, "Hey, why buy ___ program for my Mac? I can just program it myself in Xcode!"

You're probably better off working for an hour and buying a retro game than spending 20+ to make it yourself.

Also, no genius intelligence required. BASIC isn't an extremely complicated language; remember this is the language teenagers used to make games with all the time back in the day as hobbyists. :p

Still... I don't use BASIC (more of a C guy), but, as I suspect with all programming languages (regardless of how... BASIC) there's going to be a learning curve. People are expecting to just use it like D.I.Y, and I think that's going to lead to disappointment. There's no fancy-smancy drag-and-drop user interface (AFAIK) for AI controls that does everything for you. You still have to write some code, even if its very basic. Still, for those who want to take the time to learn BASIC, it looks like you can make some relatively complex stuff.

For those going "why not just use D.I.Y?" I have to say that using any programming language is different. You don't have to make 10 second microgames that take simple taps as input and can only have a few simple objects doing simple things. D.I.Y games are one trick ponies, not Gradius. When you can write your own code, you're free to make whatever you want.

Before everyone starts getting all excited, they should probably look into BASIC and see if its something they even want to learn.

@Kirk
It's disputed. I've heard some people say that learning BASIC will wreck you for more complex programming and make it harder to advance. IDK if its true but you're probably better off downloading Xcode and learning C (check out "The C Programming Language" by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie), and then maybe Objective-C, or getting Eclipse and learning Java. Stanford University has their CS106A course up on their YouTube which teaches Java to complete newbs (and CS106B, which teaches C++) with little to no programming experience. Standford U's site has all the handouts given in class (including instructions for downloading and using Eclipse) as well as the real assignments and more. More useful than learning BASIC IMO.

Barbiegurl777

#64

Barbiegurl777 said:

@Morphtroid & @MeTabble_King,

I never played Game Maker or Wario Wario D.I.Y. Sorry... (O_O)

The closest I've come is:

Freakyforms - 3dsware
Colors! - 3dsware
Flipnote - dsiware (Which I deleted off my system for just way too many reason's)
Hello Kids Vol 1 Coloring & Painting - dsiware

Is Wario Ware D.I.Y - DS any good? I was thinking of getting it at some point.

lol sorry about the programming remark but I have seen a few of my friends do amazing thing's with both video games & computer's only reason I said it sorry... (^ _ ^)

@Spamineggs,

I did consider inchworm but never tried it out yet...

Happy Gaming! (^ _ ^)

Pyotr

#66

Pyotr said:

@thelastlemming

Maybe it provides a way of importing code, though the SD card, that you've typed on a computer. I don't actually know; it's just an idea. A similar method could be used to import sprites, background pictures, music, etc.

lanabanana

#67

lanabanana said:

Well I am thinking of becoming a game designer when I grow up but idk if i'll get this... :P

Shadowflash

#68

Shadowflash said:

Soooooooo Hyped for this. I made a ton of games on WarioWare D.I.Y., and I hated how I couldn't make games longer than 16 seconds. Now I can finally make full games on my 3DS :D.

Morpheel

#70

Morpheel said:

I assume the game will come with some tutorials or example games, you could try looking around the internet with google.

kroltan

#71

kroltan said:

@Kirk It's programming, so you need to know the logic and maths to do your game from scratch. I think. (Don't have a 3DS, nor used it, but trust me, I'm a programmer)

gojiguy

#73

gojiguy said:

This sounds incredible. If there is a good tutorial mode I can see myself playing with this for YEARS.

Bazly

#74

Bazly said:

@Morphtroid:

Well, seeing those videos, I have made up my mind. I'm going to start learning BASIC lol. I was planning on studying C++ in my spare time, but with this awesome tool coming our way...

I know BASIC is one a lot of actual computer programming courses start you off with anyway, so get ready people! I plan to produce some quality game for y'all! I am now SUPER pumped for this!

Gridatttack

#75

Gridatttack said:

Looks awesome. Reminds me of all the RPG makers games out there.
If this is fairly easy to use ill might get it. I already got gamemaker for pc, but this seems nice. Now, I really wonder how much it cost, If its pricey for my taste, Ill guess ill continue ROM-hacking(modifying) other games (like the mario games, etc.)

Capt_N

#76

Capt_N said:

@Fabian People don't seem to be considering that this may, & probably will be limited to a certain file, &/or space limit, even if it allows sd card storage, & direct sd card access, as opposed to dumping/copying files off the sd. So, Nintendo probably has made sure they have their back covered against Mario & Zelda clones being produced this way.

Not to mention that this could also be already tailored to a limited set of the 3ds' functions/capabilities, in the sense(s) that:
1. Ppl who d/l this program may/may not need to write code to utilize the d-pad, or 4 a/b/y/x buttons, for example. It could, & probably will be already built-in. In short, the app will probably be completely tailored for the 3ds, albeit this doesn't necessarily mean it will be able to use all of the 3ds functions/hardware.
2. Certain aspects of the 3ds hardware, & maybe even the available buttons for use, may be curtailed.

James

#77

James said:

RE: everyone asking about a European release — Gamebridge so far has only confirmed the software for North America. No comment on an EU release.

@Capt_N This is straight-up DSiWare and won't play any differently on 3DS than it does on DSi. No enhancements for 3DS.

childofacid

#78

childofacid said:

This is very cool. Finally that programming class that I took for my Game Design degree will be put to some use. (I work as a game artist not a programmer)

BulbasaurusRex

#79

BulbasaurusRex said:

@Shadowflash QBasic is still probably the most user-friendly free version of BASIC available and comes with a complete help guide, although you'll also need DOSBox, as it's a DOS program.

Although I know how to use C++, I actually prefer QBasic, as it avoids many annoyances of C++ (what idiot thought it was a good idea to count arrays starting at zero, anyway?), and I hate object-oriented programming, anyway.

I hope this program allows some way to copy existing BASIC code from a PC through the SD card. Although there will inevitably be some tweaks required, I'd love to avoid retyping my programs from scratch.

Ralph

#81

Ralph said:

I looked around and the Japanese version costs 800 dsiware points.

Mandoble

#82

Mandoble said:

This sounds like an incredible addition for DSi/3DS and a pretty fun and easy way to introduce kiddies into programming.

thatoneguy4419

#83

thatoneguy4419 said:

if there aren't going to be any tutorials or guides in this game, I don't know if I'll get it... it seems really fun and all but it looks like it's really complicated at the same time :/ I just looked up some information about BASIC programming and I have to say... It looks really confusing. Or maybe that's just me. :(

Joygame51

#85

Joygame51 said:

I sure hope this title comes out soon. I loved playing with game making in Basic !!!
Wonder how much this dsiware title will be ? I would be willing to go 800 or so but would love it if it were 500 .

Joygame51

#88

Joygame51 said:

Gonna try making the gem stone (columns) game I loved that game soo much on saga !

SyFyTy

#90

SyFyTy said:

There is a simple version of Basic in one of the recent Atari Classic DS Vol 2 If I recall correctly (if not its in vol 1) You can also make games with it. I'll still get this though.

Pod

#94

Pod said:

Seems it never actually came out in Europe.

Hopefully the 3DS version will, but I realize the localization Nintendo demands for EU releases is pretty brutal.

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