Today it was announced that there is a Raspberry Pi app store available! I highly recommend everyone to download and use this. If you have ever used iTunes, Steam or the Ubuntu Software Centre this is basically the Raspberry Pi version of those. It’s here to stay and I think it’s going to be huge.
To access the store you need to load the X desktop by typing startx at the Linux command prompt, you’ll now see that there is a new desktop icon named Pi Store (above).
Upon first use you will need to click the Add new user button and go through the sign up process. Once you log in you can click on the Explore icon in the top left and have a look at what is on offer.
The initial line up of software will probably seem somewhat limited, but as time goes on the number of programs available will increase. I don’t think I need to provide instructions on how to get the apps installed and running, everything is quite straight forward and intuitive. Some apps require an install script to run though, this is so that any prerequisite packages that the app needs can be installed. You’ll see a prompt asking for your permission to do this and you just need to press Y for yes.
Apps that you install will be listed under My Apps for convenience. From there you can manage all the applications that you have installed. I recommend you try a game called OpenTTD and an application called Schism Tracker (see above). These were both submitted to the Pi store by me and therefore appear under my developer account. I take no credit for the work that went into developing them though, they’re both open source applications that are free to redistribute (under GPL) and are therefore also free on the Pi store.
OpenTTD is an open source version of a game called Transport Tycoon Deluxe. The objective is to connect different sites on the map by road, rail, air or water and make money out of transporting goods, coal, passengers etc. It’s a great simulation game and a nice tutorial for it can be found here. I would recommend, for performance, that you turn off two detail settings to speed the game up. These can be found under the cog icon, in game, and are named Full Detail and Full Animation. A smaller map size may also improve performance, perhaps choose 128 x 128 or even 128 x 64.
Schism Tracker will be huge fun for you if you remember module files from the 90’s. Modules, or MOD’s as they were known, are basically songs produced without the need for any expensive music equipment. A lot of computer game music was made this way back then so if you’re interested in making music of your own you can use this software to do exactly that.
The program is provided without any song files, so you will need to go find these and download them yourself. A good place to start is The Mod Archive (go Music > Charts > Top Favourites). I fully intend to provide a tutorial, on this site, for how to start making your own songs, but for now – it’s probably just as much fun to go and listen to what other people have made. The MagPi issue 2 also has an article on Schism Tracker (page 22).
Now, the real genius of this app store is that anyone can upload their own programs to it. Click the Upload button in the top left and you can start creating your own developer page.
So, if you have a application or a game in development, this could be your chance to make a bit of money for yourself. When you upload a program you are in control of everything like the box art, the screen shots and, of course, the price to sell at. In my view this app store is going to seed the development of a lot of games for the Pi. Only time will tell though.
Any programs you upload will have to go through something called CAP. Community Approval Process, this is essentially a form of peer review to make sure your application is not malicious or just plain rubbish! Once you have passed CAP your app or game will then be visible to buy for other users of the Pi store.