We have the building blocks of a game here, but we’re still lacking player input. A game that plays itself isn’t very much fun, so let’s fix that.

Paste this code below your Main loop. Like Memcpy, this is a function that can be reused from different places, using the call instruction.

  ; Poll half the controller
  ld a, P1F_GET_BTN
  call .onenibble
  ld b, a ; B7-4 = 1; B3-0 = unpressed buttons

  ; Poll the other half
  ld a, P1F_GET_DPAD
  call .onenibble
  swap a ; A3-0 = unpressed directions; A7-4 = 1
  xor a, b ; A = pressed buttons + directions
  ld b, a ; B = pressed buttons + directions

  ; And release the controller
  ld a, P1F_GET_NONE
  ldh [rP1], a

  ; Combine with previous wCurKeys to make wNewKeys
  ld a, [wCurKeys]
  xor a, b ; A = keys that changed state
  and a, b ; A = keys that changed to pressed
  ld [wNewKeys], a
  ld a, b
  ld [wCurKeys], a

  ldh [rP1], a ; switch the key matrix
  call .knownret ; burn 10 cycles calling a known ret
  ldh a, [rP1] ; ignore value while waiting for the key matrix to settle
  ldh a, [rP1]
  ldh a, [rP1] ; this read counts
  or a, $F0 ; A7-4 = 1; A3-0 = unpressed keys

Unfortunately, reading input on the Game Boy is fairly involved (as you can see!), and it would be quite difficult to explain what this function does right now. So, I ask that you make an exception, and trust me that this function does read input. Alright? Good!

Now that we know how to use functions, let’s call the UpdateKeys function in our main loop to read user input. UpdateKeys writes the held buttons to a location in memory that we called wCurKeys, which we can read from after the function returns. Because of this, we only need to call UpdateKeys once per frame.

This is important, because not only is it faster to reload the inputs that we’ve already processed, but it also means that we will always act on the same inputs, even if the player presses or releases a button mid-frame.

First, let’s set aside some room for the two variables that UpdateKeys will use; paste this at the end of the main.asm:

SECTION "Input Variables", WRAM0
wCurKeys: db
wNewKeys: db

Each variable must reside in RAM, and not ROM, because ROM is “Read-Only” (so you can’t modify it). Additionally, each variable only needs to be one byte large, so we use db (“Define Byte”) to reserve one byte of RAM for each.

Before we read these variables we will also want to initialize them. We can do that below our initialization of wFrameCounter.

	; Initialize global variables
	ld a, 0
	ld [wFrameCounter], a
	ld [wCurKeys], a
	ld [wNewKeys], a

We’re going to use the and opcode, which we can use to set the zero flag (z) to the value of the bit. We can use this along with the PADF constants in to read a particular key.

	ld a, [rLY]
	cp 144
	jp nc, Main
	ld a, [rLY]
	cp 144
	jp c, WaitVBlank2

	; Check the current keys every frame and move left or right.
	call UpdateKeys

	; First, check if the left button is pressed.
	ld a, [wCurKeys]
	and a, PADF_LEFT
	jp z, CheckRight
	; Move the paddle one pixel to the left.
	ld a, [_OAMRAM + 1]
	dec a
	; If we've already hit the edge of the playfield, don't move.
	cp a, 15
	jp z, Main
	ld [_OAMRAM + 1], a
	jp Main

; Then check the right button.
	ld a, [wCurKeys]
	and a, PADF_RIGHT
	jp z, Main
	; Move the paddle one pixel to the right.
	ld a, [_OAMRAM + 1]
	inc a
	; If we've already hit the edge of the playfield, don't move.
	cp a, 105
	jp z, Main
	ld [_OAMRAM + 1], a
	jp Main

Now, if you compile the project, you should be able to move the paddle left and right using the d-pad!! Hooray, we have the beginnings of a game!