HEL is a collection of application programming interfaces (API) for handling tasks related to game programming on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance.
HEL has been used is several homebrew and commercial video games during 2003 to 2007, such as:
I started HEL as a hobby in 2003 as addition to “HAM”.
HAM SDK was a free-of-charge solution to build Game Boy Advance applications, created by Emanuel “Tubooboo” Schleussinger. The SDK was very popular around 2001-2006, where HEL was received very well and became widely used.
In 2007 I stopped working on HEL, because the Game Boy Advance wasn’t interesting for the majority of developers anymore.
HEL stands for HAM Extension Library.
- A map system with support for unlimited large maps (theoretically, memory is the limit), parallax scrolling, data-layers like collision or event-maps, dynamic tile reloading to bypass the hardware limit of only 1024 tiles to create more extended levels as well as animated tiles.
- A sprite system to efficiently create, delete, update, rotate and scale sprites.
- A windowing system, something like scissoring.
- Debugging mechanisms such as assetion checking, debug message output and a stacktrace.
- Detailed API documentation and lots of sample projects.
… and much more.
In 2005, Andrzej “blindfold” Czyz created a really nice tech-demo, heavily utilizing features of HEL’s map-system, such as large maps, parallax scrolling, dynamic tile reloading and animated tiles. All this put together with the graphics of famous amiga game Agony makes the tech-demo eerily beautiful.
I still provide downloads of every build ever released. However, please note you need to have HAM SDK installed to use it.
- 2007-08-17 - HEL 2.5
- 2007-06-20 - HEL 2.4
- 2007-04-09 - HEL 2.3
- 2007-01-28 - HEL 2.2
- 2006-11-05 - HEL 2.1
- 2006-08-13 - HEL 2.0
- 2005-10-09 - HEL 1.7
- 2005-08-22 - HEL 1.6
- 2005-07-08 - HEL 1.5
- 2005-05-22 - HEL 1.4
- 2005-02-28 - HEL 1.3
- 2004-07-17 - HEL 1.2
- 2004-06-29 - HEL 1.1
- 2004-04-02 - HEL 1.0
- 2004-02-15 - HEL 0.9
- 2004-01-26 - HEL 0.8
- 2003-12-06 - HEL 0.7
- 2003-11-26 - HEL 0.6
- 2003-11-15 - HEL 0.5
- 2003-11-11 - HEL 0.4
- 2003-10-27 - HEL 0.3
- 2003-10-06 - HEL 0.2 (unreleased)
- 2003-09-30 - HEL 0.1 (unreleased)
HEL and HAM SDK are both no longer maintained.
If you’re interested in Game Boy Advance development, I recommend to take a look at devkitpro. It provides a toolchain to develop applications for many consoles/handhelds, including the Game Boy Advance, but unlike the HAM SDK, it’s still actively supported.