This guide will show you how to get started programming your PicoSystem using our PicoSystem C++ API. PicoSystem is a pocket sized handheld games console, built around Raspberry Pi's RP2040 chip (that's the little fella that's the core of a Raspberry Pi Pico).
The PicoSystem C++ API is intentionally designed to be lightweight and get out of your way when you're developing games for PicoSystem. It has around 40 functions to provide access to the hardware and help with drawing, audio, and user input. It's separate from the rest of our Pico drivers/libraries, to keep it super slimline.
Once you're familiar with the process of building your project for PicoSystem you may find our PicoSystem API Cheatsheet a useful reference to keep handy.
First of all we need to install the Pico SDK from Raspberry Pi. This provides all of the useful bits and pieces needed to make the most of the RP2040 processor.
We've found that setting up the Pico build chain is most straightforward on a Raspberry Pi or other Linux computer. The instructions below assume you're using a Raspberry Pi running Raspberry Pi OS, but if your setup is Linux based the process should be very similar. For more detailed instructions and how to build Pico/RP2040 projects using other platforms we'd suggest taking a look at the Raspberry Pi Getting Started Guide (or, for more technical info, the C/C++ SDK docs).
If you're building on a Pi, we'd recommend using a fresh image of Raspberry Pi OS and doing a
sudo apt update before starting to make sure your package lists are up to date.
sudo apt install cmake gcc-arm-none-eabi libnewlib-arm-none-eabi libstdc++-arm-none-eabi-newlib
git clone https://github.com/raspberrypi/pico-sdk.git ~/pico-sdk
PICO_SDK_PATH environment variable on your system:
echo 'export PICO_SDK_PATH="~/pico-sdk"' >> ~/.bashrc
sudo reboot your Pi) and you're done!
Now we have everything ready we can download the PicoSystem SDK and build the example projects to prove that everything is working.
Download our PicoSystem SDK:
git clone https://github.com/pimoroni/picosystem.git ~/picosystem
Create a build folder:
Build the examples (if you're using a Pi 4, you can
make -j4 to use all the cores and make things go a little faster).
You will now have the example projects built in
~/picosystem/build/examples. You can copy the
.uf2 files in this directory directly to your PicoSystem while it is in DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode.
If it's not plugged in already, connect your PicoSystem to your computer. Hold down the
X action button and toggle the power. PicoSystem will boot into DFU mode and appear as a disk on your computer, called RPI-RP2.
If you're using a GUI, you should be able to drag a
.uf2 file onto the PicoSystem disk and it will be uploaded and launch immediately.
If you're using a Raspberry Pi and are logged in via SSH you might find that your PicoSystem doesn't mount as a drive automatically - section 3.2.2 of the Getting Started guide will show you how to mount it manually.
Once everything is installed we can make our first PicoSystem project!