Makebook Game Boy Book Reader GBA

From GameBrew

Makebook - Game Boy Book Reader
AuthorPat Crowe
Last Updated2004/11/01

GameBoy Book Reader allows you to make a text file into a book which you can read on the GameBoy or GameBoy Advance. You need to program the .GB or .GBA file produced onto a suitable FLASH memory cartridge.


The file gbbook.exe is an Installer (NSIS based). Just run it from anywhere to install Makebook.It is a simple text editor for tidying up the book text file, preparing it to be processed, and exporting it as a Game Boy ROM image.

In this version Arabic Users should use the 16 pixel high font, Chinese/Japanese/Hebrew users should use the 12 or 16 pixel high fonts, Korean users should be able to use any font, and most other users can pick any. 16 pixel high is a real alternative with the larger Advance screen. For Traditional Chinese at 12 pixel height, select font f_trad_ch12.gbf.

Please note that on some versions of Windows in China, and other non-Western countries, the text file will look like rubbish. But don't worry. If it looks ok in Notepad it will still make a good book ROM.


Non-Cursor with Info Bars Mode (default)

Non-Cursor Full Screen Mode

Cursor Mode



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Makebook V4.92b

  • Bug fix for extra newlines added during text import functions.
  • Import Functons for BMP (for font generation), HTML, RTF and PDF.
  • A new san serif 16 pixel high font.

Makebook V4.91

  • Power reduced version. With the light off, the new version will run for more than 2 1/2 times longer than the older one. With the light on the new version will run for 73% longer than the older one. A final piece of information is that (on the new version) turning off the light will more than double battery life.

Makebook V4.9

  • Fixed bug in compression which on some files displayed rubbish.

Makebook V4.8

  • Partly fixed bar on/off picture size problem (scroll down amount not correct for current picture, after switching bars on and off - still occurs when switching cursor mode on/off).
  • Index tool no longer overwrites selected text.
  • 'Can't find bitmap file' message names file.
  • 'Can't find jpeg file' message names file.
  • 'Can't find font file' message names file.
  • 'Image too wide' message names file.
  • Font editor allows any font height (6-16) for gba (but not gameboy).
  • Allow multi line links.
  • Allow multi line play midi links.
  • Now identifies reason and filename for jpeg failure.
  • Adjusted start time for splash music.

Makebook V4.7b

  • Now deletes .tmp files after making book.
  • Error messages relating to images improve.

Makebook V4.7

  • Added text compression option (approaching 2:1).
  • Added Hebrew scroll bar (thanks to Yotam Ofek).
  • Added support for JPEG pictures in book.
  • Converted splash screens to use jpeg (85% smaller).
  • Total engine size shrunk to 29% of previous version.
  • Added MIDI and hyperlink support to registered Chinese/Japanese/Korean versions.
  • Added option not to show cover (registered version).

Makebook V4.6

  • Colour options modified - some schemes have 'Windows' style bars.
  • The progress indicator now also shows positions of each book (volume) within the set of books.
  • Persistant settings - cursor mode and full screen mode settings preserved from session to session.
  • Default cursor position is now middle of screen.
  • Arabic Codepage 1256 support (using 16 pixel high font) - right to left reading - automatic presentation character substitution (corresponds to unicode rules R1-R7) - mandatory arabic ligatures automatically substituted (corresponds to unicode rules L1-L3) - transparent characters implemented. Note: more testing needed, consider Arabic support as beta.
  • (Midi functions below for registered users.)
  • Midi's improved (corresponds to pogoshell midi plug-in V0.91).
  • Using better set of samples.
  • Fixed bugs caused by Pitch Bend, System Exclusive, and Aftertouch messages.
  • Implemented Pitch Bend.
  • You can now define 'background' music (midi) for: - splash screens - cover - any range of lines in the book
  • Changes in music fade out first tune instead of cutting it off abruptly.
  • Sound on/off settings.
  • (another setting for registered users) SRAM contents ignored - requested for use with cartridge with defective sram.

Makebook V4.5

  • Exit to Pogoshell (start + select)
  • Hebrew text support, with right to left characters and combining characters.
  • MIDI file links for registered users.
  • Fixed number of newlines persistance bug.
  • Prevented repeat addition of bitmap if registered.
  • Prevented repeat addition of midi file.
  • Fixed unnecessary monochrome bitmap height check in 'Advance'.
  • Added Display Font Selection.
  • Added automatic font codepage selection on opening text file.

Makebook V4.4

  • NSIS based Installer/uninstaller added - Just run the file gbbook.exe which you download. Thanks to Pär Moberg for the original script.
  • Improved controls on GBA:
    • Settings from Start button.
    • Bookmarks and Index from Select button.
  • Automatic setting on indent Tool button for target - logic improved.
  • Auto increment target name when defining links and targets.
  • Added Index Marks.
  • Added Registration - most of the advantages are on GBA.
  • Advantages of Registration:
    • 50 bookmarks instead of 3 (GBA only).
    • Goto Index works (GBA only).
    • More than 20 links allowed (GBA only).
    • Removes 'Not Registered' message from Makebook and ROMs.
    • Allows fast startup option (GBA only).
    • Restores user settings.
    • Fix Header GBA allowed.
    • Feeling of satisfaction.

Makebook V4.3

  • Allows colour pictures to be included in text (see above).
  • Option not to increase size to next biggest ROM size.
  • Option to 'fix header' if you supply the header data.
  • Option to indent paragraphs (see middle Korean example above).
  • When selecting font, all supported code pages are shown.
  • Option to use a single NEWLINE as a paragraph separator.
  • Bug relating to inserting bitmap, where last line disappears or is repeated, is fixed.
  • New progress bar shows making-book progress.
  • 'Guest' Splash and Cover Screens designed by Kyle Fallis.
  • Fixed bug where large (eg Chinese) fonts cause screen corruption after a few chapters (thanks to Hu Huaizheng for this information).
  • Removed word wrapping for Korean. According to wildhawk word-wrap is not really used in Korean. The spacing may be wrong though at the moment so feedback is requested.
  • Added 'hyperlink' feature. This is not well documented yet, so is offered currently for your experiments. Right shoulder button activates it (cursor mode) so don't press right shoulder and you needn't be affected. Links don't work in CJK languages yet.

Makebook V4.2

  • New font added for Traditional Chinese use (12 pixel high). Select it (f_trad_ch12.gbf) for code page 950 use at 12 pixel height.
  • Japanese scroll bar text added - thanks to Luc.
  • Bitmaps have been fixed. Doesn't mean you won't find a bug still, but the obvious ones have been cured. The default location is now the text file directory.
  • Some aspects of Chinese - Traditional have been fixed.
  • There are some issues relating to the title rows. Positioning is not good in some character sizes. Only the first row appears on the top bar but two rows appear on the book 'cover'.
  • The 'Intro' is just a straight port with a sequence of splash screens. While this is adequate for a book reader, the advance does cry out for a little animation here.
  • The making-book process has been greatly speeded up. Reading from RichEdit controls is REALLY slow. So I now save a copy of the text file and read it from there.
  • This version should work well for all western and central European Languages, including Russian and Greek, as well as Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, and Japanese. Some text sizes do not work in some languages (missing characters in font).
  • As always before in Makebook, the text may look garbled in some cases, especially where the platform is from a different world region. This does not stop Makebook from making a successful book.
  • If you find an anomaly let me know. The program is hard to test thoroughly, owing to the variety of languages and ways the text can be formatted.
  • As usual the help file is out of date. It does not even mention the Advance. See if you can figure it out yourself.
  • A word about the Bookmark function. 'Select' saves a bookmark at the current line. 'Start' goes to the bookmark. If you don't know this it can be confusing and you may lose your place in the book. The bookmarks will be made more user friendly and functional. I was asked if the book-marking function was likely to wear out your cartridge. I can reassure you on that one. It doesn't.
  • The Advance bookmaker does not include the Nintendo logo in the header when it makes the book. You have to add this yourself. Shouldn't cause you any problem.
  • The following bugs have been reported, and have been fixed:
    • Bitmaps didn't get displayed properly.
    • Traditional chinese had a display bug.

External links