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Cymons Games

Once you’ve got your Raspberry Pi built enough to run there are still some things necessary before you can program on it. There is an opinion that the command line is still the best interface for the Raspberry Pi, especially for programming, but I’m committed to making it easy enough for a child to use so I’m not going to go that route. And in fact you don’t have to.

First of all, the screen recommended in the last set up guide is far from usable for programming. You are going to need to invest in something you can hook up to the pi through HDMI. I found a cheap monitor at a second hand store and a HDMI to DVI cable and used that. Unfortunatly buying a HDMI monitor can be the most expensive part of getting your Pi ready.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is free yourself somewhat from the command prompt by installing Synaptic Package Manager. From the command prompt type:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Once you finish that every time you read some instruction telling you to install something with apt-get, instead you can use synaptic from your graphical desktop instead.

Next your going to want to configure your Raspberry Pi to go to the graphical desktop every time so run

sudo raspi-config

to bring up the configuration tool and under “boot_behavior” select “Yes” to start in the desktop every time. From now on your interaction with the command line will be minimal. As it should be. (Take that all you command-line lovers.)

Next, while it’s true that from the command line you already have everything you need to program, I like a good IDE, and there are several to choose from. My favorite is Geany, and fortunately it can be installed from Synaptic Package Manager no program. Just search for the name and run it. Then you’ll have a great UI for C, C++, Python, Java, or just about anything that is set to run. It’s simple yet robust and just works. I’ve tried it with werewolves and wanderer and a couple other games that don’t need external libraries. Eventually I’ll figure out making those work too and hopefully I’ll make tutorials. (Hey, I’m still learning this stuff too.)

With Geany installed you’re ready to program, so go to.

7 Responses to “Setting up your Raspberry Pi for Cymon’s Games”

  1. epicoder

    It can actually be really helpful (and fun) to learn the command line. Bash is a very powerful tool and it can make it a lot easier to wrangle source code for large projects, or version control, or any number of other things. Once I’d learned it, I started using it just as much as the gui. It takes the tediousness out of a lot of things and can help you work faster. In any case, it’s good to learn as a basic demonstration of functions and control structures.

    Here’s a good resource: http://linuxcommand.sourceforge.net/lc3_learning_the_shell.php


  2. oldlaptop

    I also would add that modern *nix shells (like bash, which is what people almost always mean by ‘linux commandline’) are nowhere near as retrograde and awful as the DOS-style command prompts Windows still comes with. Please don’t let COMMAND.COM and cmd.exe put you off of CLIs entirely! :)


  3. oldlaptop

    Sorry for double-post (it’s 11:20 PM here, I’m not exactly at my best right now…), but I meant to add: external libraries are really easy under typical *nix systems. It is as simple as (say) ‘aptitude install libsdl1.2-dev’ (or the equivalent in Synaptic and friends) to get SDL all set up and ready.


  4. Joe

    I was thinking as I wrote this that I really need to organize my thoughts about command-lines into an organized rant.

    Thing is I don’t hate command lines. I’ve been programming since DOS. I’m down with command lines. In fact I do see their value. But I also feel that command lines are inherently inferior to GUIs. I see spamming functionality as a failing of interface design. And while programmers like you and I like having all the tools available to us we represent a very small cross section of computer users.

    Saying that the command line is the best part about linux is, to me, admitting that it is not nor ever will be ready for prime time. It’s exclusionary in it’s design and exclusionary in it’s vision and I don’t support the idea. For the rPi to fulfill it’s designed purpose Linux either needs to be shown to be not only functional but usable by the masses, or the rPi needs to start running windows. Them’s the knocks.


  5. epicoder

    “Saying that the command line is the best part about linux is, to me, admitting that it is not nor ever will be ready for prime time. It’s exclusionary in it’s design and exclusionary in it’s vision and I don’t support the idea.”
    I take issue with all of these statements.

    (Throughout this comment, “Linux” refers to the top several distros as a whole)

    I never said that the command line is the best part of Linux. To me it is, but most Linux distros have taken to a “to each their own” path. Knowing the command line can help, but it’s by no means necessary. In fact, many of the newer versions of GUIS like Gnome, KDE, LXDE, and XFCE can easily match Windows in not requiring the command line.
    Linux as a whole has been “ready for prime time” for years. It is generally more stable and secure than windows, yet isn’t a walled garden like Mac. The command line still is a major part of it mostly because of people like me who like it.
    Linux offers choices for pretty much anyone, be it an “average Joe” who just wants to get stuff done and not worry about anything else or an enthusiast like me who wants to customize every bit of his system. Windows offers almost none of this choice, with a terrible command line that offers only very basic functionality, hidden configuration that is not manually (I mean with a text editor!) editable, and unneeded cruft that is impossible to trim out without crippling the OS. I’m not saying that Linux doesn’t have its fair share of cruft, but it usually takes me all of 15 minutes to tune down a major distro to my liking.

    AFAIK, the rPi uses it’s own customized, reconfigured form of Debian with Gnome as its operating system. Gnome is aimed at people with no experience with a command line and should pose no problem to an open-minded user who’s willing to take 5 minutes to figure out the menu.

    “But I also feel that command lines are inherently inferior to GUIs.”
    Clean up hundreds of text files created by extracting a poorly crafted zip file, only using Windows Explorer, then say that again.


  6. Joe

    I really do want to make a proper rant about this in the future so I don’t want to use up all my best material in the comments here. But I also want this to be thoroughly explored before I do the write up so stick with me here. I want to see where this goes.

    For the record so far I am finding the GUI on the rPi to be a good experience so far. It seems entirely possible to use the GUI exclusively once it’s set up, but it’s that setup phase that I want to get people through. And while you may not be the one insisting that command-line is the only way to go, this is a pervasive mentality.

    In fact your assertion that the command-line is better at cleaning up broken text files kind of echos this sentiment. Are you implying that you can clean up hundreds of text files using only Bash? I’m talking straight Bash, no external utilities including ‘cat’ or ‘grep’. You may think of these things as just being a part of the command line, but they are separate utilities same as Notepad++ or 7Zip or any of the utilities that would allow the cleaning up of “hundreds of text files created by extracting a poorly crafted zip file”. Granted the stock options in windows for handling text files and zip files are crap, but you’re talking a pretty advanced function here, not something my mother would do which is what the stock options are created for.

    I know of nothing that the command-line can do that has not been or can not be implemented in a GUI. The important part, I feel, is identifying the functionality that is good and making sure to carry it forward. If there is something that HAS to be done in the command line this curmodeonly relic of a bygone age should be critically analyzed and either updated or abandoned. The fact that there is a port of Vi for windows is borderline illness. There is absolutely no reason to be holding on to a text editor written for mainframes that lacked arrow keys on their keyboards in this day and age except for a disturbing unwillingness to learn something new.


  7. Aqua Regia

    The GUI has its place. Doing graphics, or with utilities that one does not use often, and needs to be prompted as to the parameters. But for pure speed, flexibility and capability there is nothing that beats the command line. And this is not an issue of baby duckling syndrome for me, as I learned to program in ’65 with punched cards (may I never see another 029.)


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