Getting Started

So, you want to actually develop applications for the PocketSprite? Great choice! (and I’m not only saying that because I just spent ages typing up the SDK documentation.) This document will allow you to get started with this.


First of all, you will need hardware to develop for. Obviously, you want to have a real PocketSprite to run the applications on. If you haven’t yet, go buy one! If you don’t have one yet, or don’t want to use the one you have for development, you can also use an ESP32 devboard, a cheap LCD and an audio amp plus speaker to build a ‘fake’ PocketSprite you can develop on.


The PocketSprite uses ESP-IDF, as well as the toolchain for the Xtensa processor that is in the ESP32 chip that forms the brains of the small console. While ESP-IDF is included (as a submodule) in the PocketSprite SDK, the toolchain needs some setting up; please refer to the ESP-IDF documentation to install it.

Note that while ESP-IDF supports Windows, Linux and Mac as development platforms, the PocketSprite SDK for now only supports Linux (and work on Mac with Brew, see the note below). Some users have reported success with using Windows Subsystem for Linux.

After you have installed esp-idf using the linked instructions, get the PocketSprite SDK components. Note that the SDK still uses the old ‘8bkc’ name as an identifier:

cd ~/esp
git clone --recursive

Now, to let your PocketSprite projects know where the SDK lives, you’ll need to add a line to your shell profile, similar to what you needed to do for the ESP-IDF installation. In case you use Bash as a shell and you have a file called .bash_profile in your home directory, edit that file, otherwise open up the .profile file in your home directory. Regardless of the file you now are editing, add a line indicating where the 8bkc-sdk can be found:

export POCKETSPRITE_PATH=~/esp/8bkc-sdk

You can now log out and log in again and check if the change took by doing printenv POCKETSPRITE_PATH. It should return the path you entered earlier.

Finally, the PocketSprite SDK contains some utilities running on your computer that need to be compiled. The SDK will automatically take care of this, but it needs to have a compiler (gcc) and the development packages of some libraries (libgd, libxml2, imagemagick) installed. Please make sure these are available. For instance, under Debian/Ubuntu, you would do:

apt-get install gcc libgd-dev libxml2-dev imagemagick

to install them.

For Mac, gcc should already come with XCode and need to install the dependencies using Brew instead:

brew install libgd libxml2 imagemagick

You can get Brew here.