A Video Game With Custom LCD Characters


[Nakul] wanted to build a video game, and with a few projects worth of Arduino experience decided he could finally attain his goal. He used a character LCD display to make his game, and instead of a text-based adventure, he went with a graphical side scroller.

The display for this space-based side scroller isn’t a graphical display like a CRT or a graphic LCD. Instead, [Nakul] is using the ubiquitous Hitachi HD44780 character LCD display. Normally these are used to display text, but they all have the ability to display custom 5 by 8 pixel characters. The code puts these custom characters – a spaceship, missile, and barrier – into the display’s memory and uses them as the sprites for the video game.

You can grab [Nakul]’s code over on his git or check out the action videos below.




12 thoughts on “A Video Game With Custom LCD Characters

  1. This is what I’m learning on my placement on PowerQuicc boards:) Rewriting the school now with RasPi instead, have to map the GPIO and all from scratch and write a tutorial, then do I2C with the same LCD, I’m really looking forward to it!:D

  2. Don’t want to sound like I’m putting this project down but using the term ‘sprites’ is a bit rich. Search on YouTube for “Bouncing Balls HD44780” for something more sprite like.

  3. I was thinking something different when I read the title: a write-up on how to make an LCD with custom elements (think of old LCD games from Tiger electronics and the like).

    Does anyone have some information on how to maybe construct these kinds of LCDs with hobbyist-level equipment? Is it even possible without thousands of dollars of tooling?

    1. I think the main challenge would be creating transparent tin oxide electrodes in the desired pattern.

      Although I never recall seeing a home-built LCD per se, I do recall seeing some documents regarding building solar cells at home, which use this style of electrode. Plus some kits, which have the glass already coated (you may be able to abrade or etch it away to get the desired pattern), or which you coat yourself with a nanoparticle paste and then bake on.

      And I also have seen some home-built OLEDs, again using these electrodes. In particular, the inimitable hacker Jeri Ellsworth has a tutorial on this.

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