Getting started with GBA development on Linux

For this year’s Global Game Jam, I finally set aside the time to get into GBA programming, and I am in for an adventure. Most tutorials lead to dead ends and aren’t targeted for Linux. To save you the time of wading through all of the outdated material, here is a summary of how I got DevKitPro working on Linux.

I’m not going to reiterate all the details and alternatives, but you can find all the information you could possibly dream of in the links I’ve included at the end of this post.

  1. Install VisualBoyAdvance — Emulator to run your .gba files:

2. Install DevKitPro — The only active GBA devkit. Use the perl script linked below. Save the file as and make sure it can be executed (eg. chmod +x

At the end of the installation process, it will tell you to set some environment variables to lead to the compiler. Replace the paths in the following example with the place where DevKitPro was installed.

export DEVKITARM=<PATH/TO/DEVKITPRO>/devkitARM” >> ~/.profile
> source ~/.profile


3. Compiling your first program — There is a working template in the DevKitPro folder. Make a copy of it, compile it, and run it to see a beautiful “Hello World” message.

> cp $(DEVKITPRO)/examples/gba/template </PATH/TO/YOUR/PROJECT> -r 
> make
> VisualBoyAdvance <YOUR_PROJECT_NAME>.gba

Good luck!

Links and general information

Development tips:

Where I finally found useful information:

DevKitPro documentation:

Comprehensive list of Linux GBA links:

Your new home page:

Windows setup information