Homebrew development in universities

If you develop a game for a university assignment, does it still count as a homebrew?

The dilemma first struck me when I came across Marco World. It looks like a Lua-coded fan game like hundred others, so I uploaded it without thinking much of it. But when I returned to its page, it had gathered two favourites out of just 35 views - a pretty solid result for the Homebrew Library.

As it turns out, this was no ordinary homebrew. It was made by a student team from the Université de Lille as part of their coursework. A bit of googling revealed that this was no uncommon occurrence. In the early 2010s, the PSP was briefly popular as a teaching device for game-programming courses - mostly in the United Kingdom.

The impetus behind it all seems to have been a deal between Sony and a group of selected universities. The universities received official SDKs on the cheap, and Sony received a pool of fresh graduates already familiar with their hardware.

Here are some student works I found out about, in order of discovery:

Alex Rodgers (Hull University)


This unnamed 3D maze game ran both on PC and PSP. The available screenshots seem to be from the PC build. No download link available.

Mehul Shukla (Hull University)


Armor Attack PSP was meant to be a remake of a 1980 arcade game. A download link was once available, but works no longer.

Ruxandra Marasescu (Hull University)


Rip Off is another arcade remake. While both source code and binaries are available (here), it seems that the game was only ever meant to run on a debug kit. It does not work on PPSSPP or a real PSP.

Sameer Aziz Mirza (Hull University)

Another student who got the same assignment: remaking Rip Off. I’m guessing Sameer and Ruxandra were classmates?

Mark Campbell (University of Derby)

Mark’s assignment was to create a demo scene on a PSP. While a three-part developer’s diary survives, we have no download links or even screenshots of his work.

Thomas Sampson (Sheffield Hallam University)


Thomas created a game engine - the Steel Engine - that ended up being used for BounceBack, an officially licenced PSP Mini game. No download links, but he offers to share the engine’s source code on request, which must be rare for what is, after all, a commercial product.

Arthur Neugodnikov (Hull University)


Another unnamed work. No download links, just a video.

Matt Pickering (University of Derby)


Flocking Boids - a tech demo making use of the PSP’s VFPU. No download link, and even the YouTube video has been removed.

Tundé Balogun (Kingston University)


Defender is the name of this project. Once hosted by Dropbox, the work is now lost.

Konrad Jablonski (Kingston University)


Space Survivor PSP, another game for which we have nothing but a video.

Equipe 11 (Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas)

Four students of this university developed a homebrew app known as pspTunes, and a companion PC app coded in Java.

Katharina Maria Kaczmarczyk (Universitat Politècnica de València)

Kaczmarczyk created the Tobis Dictionary app for PSP. The project papers are still available here as of this writing.

Michael Andrianarimanga (Université Paris-Est)

While this is not a homebrew, Andrianarimanga wrote up a guide to PSP homebrew development (in French, obviously).