HEL Library

HEL Library is a collection of application programming interfaces (API’s) 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:

Die Biene Maja - Klatschohnwiese in GefahrMy Animal Centre in AfricaPremier Action Soccer

I started HEL Library 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 Library was received very well and became widely used.

In 2007 I stopped working on HEL Library, because the Game Boy Advance wasn’t interesting for the majority of developers anymore.

Features overview

  • 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.

If you’re interested in Game Boy Advance development, I suggest 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.

3 thoughts on “HEL Library

  1. Cameron Tinker

    Do you know of how I can get a copy of the paid HAM SDK? I know that the SDK is 10 years old, but I have recently gotten back into GBA development and I’d like to have the paid version if possible so I can remove the HAM SDK intro from my roms.

  2. Emanuel Schleussinger

    hehe. Its-a-me here, Emanuel – just read this string. I shall shortly relaunch ngine.de and include contact information – i might as well just make HAM completely free if i get around to it.

    best , and shouts out to Peter!

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