Tag Archives: GPU

Raspberry Pi: Built for graphics livecoding

I’m working on a top secret project for Sam Aaron of Meta-eX fame involving the Raspberry Pi, and at the same time thinking of my upcoming CodeClub lessons this term – we have a bunch of new Raspberry Pi’s to use and the kids are at the point where they want to move on from Scratch.

This is a screenshot of the same procedural landscape demo previously running on Android/OUYA running on the Raspberry Pi, with mangled texture colours and a cube added via a new livecoding repl:


Based on my previous experiments, this program uses the GPU for the Raspberry Pi (the VideoCore IV bit of the BCM2835). It’s fast, allows compositing on top of whatever else you are running at the time, and you can run it without X windows for more CPU and memory, sounds like a great graphics livecoding GPU to me!

Here’s a close up of the nice dithering on the texture – not sure yet why the colours are so different from the OUYA version, perhaps a dodgy blend mode or a PNG format reading difference:


The code is here (bit of a mess, I’m in the process of cleaning it all up). You can build in the jni folder by calling “scons TARGET=RPI”. This is another attempt – looks like my objects are inside out:


Fluxus on the Raspberry Pi

After getting acquainted with the BeagleBoard while working on the Swamp bike opera I decided to have a look at the similar Raspberry Pi, and particularly it’s graphics systems. The Android/PS2 version of fluxus, called nomadic is ported after a bit of fiddling, but no mouse or keyboard input yet (build it with ‘scons TARGET=RPI’). The graphics driver for the Pi’s VideoCore GPU doesn’t work quite like you normally expect with X11, you get access to it via a custom display manager called dispmanx which allows crazy things like alpha compositing on top of the X display like this:


Everything you need to develop for the Pi’s GPU can be found inside /opt/vc/ (before finding that I installed a bunch of generic OpenGL ES stuff that wouldn’t work). You need to use the headers and link to the driver libraries there. There are some useful examples inside the hello_pi directory – one important thing is to call bcm_host_init(); and link with libbcm_host.so to initialise BroadCom’s driver before you can do any GPU related calls. I started off by trying to port GlutES to the Raspberry Pi but I got further using the example code – I might come back to that as a way of getting more functionality working along with X11.

I’m also experimenting with a new fluxus editor for nomadic, based on Kassen Oud’s work – a text editor written in fluxus for fluxus that you can see in the screenshot. This will eventually be useful for the standard version too, as it will give much more control over the livecoding environment while livecoding :)