PC-Engine (TurboGrafx) System specific information for cc65


An overview over the PCE runtime system as it is implemented for the cc65 C compiler.

1. Overview

2. Binary format

3. Memory layout

4. Platform specific header files

5. Loadable drivers

6. Limitations

7. Other hints

8. License

1. Overview

This file contains an overview of the PCE runtime system as it comes with the cc65 C compiler. It describes the memory layout, PCE specific header files, available drivers, and any pitfalls specific to that platform.

Please note that PCE specific functions are just mentioned here, they are described in detail in the separate function reference. Even functions marked as "platform dependent" may be available on more than one platform. Please see the function reference for more information.

2. Binary format

The standard binary output format generated by the linker for the PCE target is a cartridge image with no header. It is of course possible to change this behaviour by using a modified startup file and linker config.

3. Memory layout

cc65 generated programs with the default setup run with the I/O area and a CHR bank enabled, which gives a usable memory range of $8000 - $FFF3. All boot ROM entry points may be called directly without additional code.

Special locations:

Text screen and Font

The text screen is located at VRAM $0000, the Font is located at VRAM $2000.


The C runtime stack is located in system RAM at $3FFF and growing downwards.

BSS and Data

The BSS (uninitialized variables) and Data (initialized variables) sections are placed one after the other into system RAM at $2000.


The C heap is located after the end of the Data section and grows towards the C runtime stack.


The startup code is located at $E000 in the System/Hardware bank. Further code can be placed in other ROM banks, this must be done manually however.

4. Platform specific header files

Programs containing PCE specific code may use the pce.h header file.

4.1 PCE specific functions

4.2 Hardware access

The following pseudo variables declared in the pce.inc include file do allow access to hardware located in the address space.


The PSG defines allow access to the PSG chip (Programmable Sound Generator).


The VCE defines allow access to the VCE chip (Video Color Encoder).


The VDC defines allow access to the VDC chip (Video Display Controller).

5. Loadable drivers

All drivers must be statically linked because no file I/O is available. The names in the parentheses denote the symbols to be used for static linking of the drivers.

5.1 Graphics drivers

No TGI graphics drivers are currently available for the PCE.

5.2 Extended memory drivers

No extended memory drivers are currently available for the PCE.

5.3 Joystick drivers

pce-stdjoy.joy (pce_stdjoy)

A joystick driver for the standard two buttons joypad is available.

Note that the japanese 6-button pad is currently not supported.

5.4 Mouse drivers

No mouse drivers are currently available for the PCE.

5.5 RS232 device drivers

No serial drivers are currently available for the PCE.

6. Limitations

6.1 Disk I/O

The existing library for the PCE doesn't implement C file I/O. There are no hacks for the read() and write() routines.

To be more concrete, this limitation means that you cannot use any of the following functions (and a few others):

7. Other hints

some useful resources on PCE coding:

8. License

This software is provided 'as-is', without any expressed or implied warranty. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages arising from the use of this software.

Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for any purpose, including commercial applications, and to alter it and redistribute it freely, subject to the following restrictions:

  1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not claim that you wrote the original software. If you use this software in a product, an acknowledgment in the product documentation would be appreciated but is not required.
  2. Altered source versions must be plainly marked as such, and must not be misrepresented as being the original software.
  3. This notice may not be removed or altered from any source distribution.