Step 49: Software: Introduction
The software is written in C and compiled with the open source compiler avr-gcc. This is the main reason we use Atmel AVR micro controllers. The PIC series from Microchip is also a nice choice, but most of the C compilers cost money, and the free versions have limitations on code size.
The AVR route is much more hassle free. Just apt-get install the avr-gcc compiler, and you're in business.
The software on the AVR consists of two main components, the cube interrupt routine and effect code for making fancy animations.
When we finally finished soldering, we thought this would be the easy part. But it turns out that making animations in monochrome at low resolutions is harder than it sounds.
If the display had a higher resolution and more colors, we could have used sin() and cos() functions and all that to make fancy eye candy. With two colors (on and off) and low resolution, we have to use a lot of if() and for() to make anything meaningful.
In the next few steps, we will take you on a tour of some of the animations we made and how they work. Our goal is to give you an understanding of how you can make animations, and inspire you to create your own! If you do, please post a video in the comments!