LowRes NX is a cross platform and open source fantasy console. Fantasy consoles are designed to create a virtual game console as well as providing all the tools you need to create games for the console. It’s a way of harkening back to a simpler time in game development and is an excellent way of introducing game programming while keeping the complexities down, as well as teaching more experienced programmers how to deal with more constrained environments.
LowRes NX is described as follows:
Virtual Game Console
Imagine LowRes NX as a handheld game console with a d-pad, two action buttons and a little rubber keyboard below a slidable touchscreen. LowRes NX was inspired by real 8- and 16-bit systems and simulates chips for graphics, sound and I/O, which actually work like classic hardware. It supports hardware sprites as well as hardware parallax scrolling, and even offers vertical blank and raster interrupts to create authentic retro effects.
The programming language of LowRes NX is based on second-generation, structured BASIC. It offers all the classic commands, but with labels, loops and subprograms instead of line numbers. Graphics and sound are supported by additional commands and you can even access the virtual hardware directly using PEEK and POKE. You have complete control over the program flow, there is no standard update function to implement.
LowRes NX includes all the tools you need: The Character Designer for editing sprites, tiles and fonts, the Background Designer for tile maps and screen layouts, as well as the Sound Composer for music and sound effects. All of these are just normal BASIC programs. You can change and improve them or even create your own custom editors.
Share and Play
Send your games directly to other users or share them via the website. All programs are open source, so you can play them, learn from them and edit them. Do you prefer making just art or music? Share your creations as assets and let other programmers use them in their projects.
One of the most interesting aspects of LowRes NX is there is a completely free iOS implementation available on the Apple App Store enabling game development on the go. There is also a community of games you can learn from. The source code is available on GitHub under the LGPL v3 open source license. You can check out LowRes NX in action in the video below.