The Game Boy of Isaac - Team Kirby Devlog

We are "Team Kirby" from Telecom Paris, and for our end-of-year project, we set out to write a game, inspired by The Binding of Isaac, for the original Game Boy.

View on GitHub
22 June 2020

Our workflow

by yberreby

This post is intended to lay out the fundamentals of our workflow, the reasoning behind it, as well as to provide a refresher on git fundamentals.

Organizing code

Each team should be able to quickly iterate on the features it handles without interfering with the others’ work. To that end, at least at first, we’ll all work on separate ROMs. Obviously, everyone needs to be able to compile and run their code on their machine.

We want our code to be modular, so we’ll split up logically distinct parts of the code into multiple files and include them with the .INCLUDE (or its alias, .INC) directive. While prototyping, each team will then include the relevant files into the appropriate test ROM.

Using git effectively

When working on a group project, effective collaboration is vital ; CodiMD and Discord are pretty straightforward to use, but git deserves special attention.

First off, for the very basics, this cheat sheet should come in handy ; understanding and knowing its contents is an absolute prerequisite.

Beyond that, core characteristics of our workflow are:

Cheat sheet

Creating a branch named tile-colors locally and checking it out

(i.e. switching to it):

git checkout -b tile-colors

Staging changes and committing them

Local changes must typically be staged before they can be committed. This is done with git add <path>.

After doing so, and before committing, please review what you’re about to commit with git status (to see the affected files). If you want to inspect the details of your staged changes, you can use git diff --cached. If you feel you’ve made a mistake, unstage as needed.

Once you are satisfied with your staged changes, commit them with git commit, which will open your text editor to let you write a commit message. Please write a concise summary of your changes on the first line, add a blank line, then feel free to go as much into details as you’d like in the rest of the commit.

Then, push your changes to your branch.

Pushing your newly created branch to GitHub

The -u flag sets up a remote branch to track your local branch. origin refers to a remote, namely our GitHub repository.

git push -u origin tile-colors # needed for the first push
git push # use this for subsequent pushes

Merge commits and fast-forwarding

When merging (git merge, git pull, etc.), depending on your git history, a merge commit is not always created.

When the git history is linear, you can fast-forward : no merge commit is created.

A - B - C    master         merge 
         \            --------------->  A - B - C - D  master
           D feature   (fast-forward)                  feature

When there’s a fork, you cannot fast-forward : a merge commit is required.

A - B - C - D master        merge        A - B - C - D - F master
          \           ----------------->           \   / ^---- merge commit
            E feature (no fast-forward)              E     feature

By default, git pull allows merge commits. To avoid these types of commit, either pull with the flag --ff-only (will only merge if it can be fast-forwarded), or --rebase (will perform a rebase when needed, do not use if you don’t know how to use it). You can use git config pull.ff only to automatically use --ff-only on this repository.


When merging, if you want to squash all your commits into one, use the flag --squash

For example:

A - B              master
        C - D - E  feature

git merge --squash feature

A - B - C' master  (C' = C + D + E)


Sometimes, you do not want to commit your changes, but need to save your changes somewhere (for instance when pulling). You could create a temporary commit, then later rebase and squash, but an easier way is to use the stash. git stash puts your unstaged changes into the stash, git stash pop applies the latest stashed item and removes it from the stash, git stash drop discards the latest stashed item without applying it (use with caution). Additional commands can be found with git help stash.

tags: setup - git