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Gameduino Project Aims To Game-ify the Arduino

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pocket-sized-arcade dept.

Open Source 83

beckman101 writes "Gameduino is a DIY game platform built on a shield for the Arduino. It's open source hardware (BSD and, for the code, GPL). Okay, that's fairly cool. But what makes this project special is that this inexpensive board has hardware that's capable enough to be interesting. The result is a lo-fi game console built on an FPGA that gives you retro graphics without being, you know, too retro. Games actually look good."

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83 comments

Minecraft (2, Interesting)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417218)

If someone made a Minecraft for the device, I could buy it. The current codebase is way too heavy for the type of game it is - it doesn't even check if you should see an object, it just draws everything anyway. Make a lightweight version of Minecraft and it's perfect!

Re:Minecraft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35417378)

I'm a cum junkie. Seriously, I have THOUSANDS of pictures of young Russian twinks blowing their loads. Blowing them all over their bellies, on some other twink's face, on some old fuck's face, just BLOWING!

Re:Minecraft (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417396)

I'm pretty sure that adding occlusion culling would increase the size of MC's codebase, not decrease it. The issue isn't that MC has too many lines, it's that certain useful technical tricks are missing.

Occlusion culling (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#35420088)

The world of minecraft has a basic geometry (a huge 3D grid of cubic blocks) that makes occlusion culling almost trivial, given that the engine is re-adapted to that.

See Cube and Sauerbraten, for engines which were written with occlusion culling in mind from the ground up, and which support way much more complicated geometry at quite impressive framerates.

The problem is that the minecraft engine was probably written in a completely different way and adding this feature would require a complete rewrite of the engine.

Re:Minecraft (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417472)

It's completely useless for 3D (sprites and scrolling only!)

Re:Minecraft (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417546)

Depends on how fast the device(plus whatever i2c master is controlling it) can generate new sprites, I suppose.

Since the display is actually 2D, the camera's view of the 3D scene could be represented as a collection of sprites generated from the surfaces of the 3D polygons by the perspective-appropriate transformation...

Given the relatively low ceiling on number of sprites, and the fairly limited RAM and computational capacity of the arduino, you might well have real trouble getting good 3D; but I can imagine something like the classic Alone In The Dark, with a limited number of single-colored(rather than actually textured) polygons are used on top of a static background...

Re:Minecraft (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417666)

It's not the graphics output speed that would be the limiting factor, it would be calculation of the actual 3D scenes. I expect even running Wolfenstein would be pushing it to its limits. With the memory limitations you'd probably have to do with very very basic textures if any, and without an FPU it would be very slow to calculate the movement and rotation of a lot of vertexes.

Re:Minecraft (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418000)

I certainly wouldn't argue with the contention that this device(especially if paired with one of the more limited Arduino boards) would be a very limited 3D device. Getting it to do 3D would be a bit of a hack, and you would be severely limited in scene complexity(and quite possibly refresh rate) if you wanted to do any real 3D. I just wanted to argue that it would be better than completely useless, just challenging and limited for the reasons you describe...

With storage being so cheap and capacious now, though, you might be able to do pretty decent fake-3D with an SD card full of pre-rendered sprites for the objects in your gameworld, and a somewhat granular model of space, to keep the number of possible perspectives sufficiently low...

Re:Minecraft (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418210)

Actually I saw a really interesting level for LittleBigPlanet2 where the guy had hacked the 2D gameworld into a very basic FPS that drew everything by painting sprites on the screen. You could only turn at 90 degree angles, everything rendered very slowly, so obviously not exactly the best gaming experience ever, but it was incredibly clever.

Re:Minecraft (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35442114)

very basic FPS that drew everything by painting sprites on the screen. You could only turn at 90 degree angles, everything rendered very slowly

...like that arcade game XYbots from the early '90s. Later, after I learned about 3D graphics, I realized the origin of the name.

Re:Minecraft (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423378)

No, it's got less to do with the computing speed (you could use one of the pin-for-pin-compatible ARM boards) and more to do with the Gameduino not having an actual framebuffer.

Re:Minecraft (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417850)

I guess you *could* render a scene entirely on the host controller then upload it to sprite memory when it's ready - use the gameduino just as a frame buffer. It would be limited to a four color image though.

Re:Minecraft (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419388)

Occlusion culling in a dynamic game world like minecraft is not trivial. Would you be willing to put up with pauses every time a block is placed or destroyed while the bsp trees are regenerated? I believe minecraft does occlude blocks that are completely walled in by opaque neighbors so you would really just be eliminating interiors anyway. With today's hardware you are often better off dumping triangles on the video card than burning cycles trying to decide what you can get away with occluding.

Re:Minecraft (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35423088)

The trees don't have to be regenerated but rather updated. It's not that difficult with kd-trees. Surely, it's not optimal, but can give reasonable results.

New hardware supports occlusion testing on the GPU. There's a query method to test how many or if any fragments were actually drawn between the beginning of the query and its end. You can then hierarchically draw bounding boxes and only actually draw the geometry you want.
Check this [nvidia.com] out.

Re:Minecraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35419460)

The main performance problem for a game like minecraft, is that it ~is~ complex, even if it looks "old school" (blocky)

Each chunk is 16x16x128 blocks, thats 33k cubes, each with 6 faces, each with 4 vertices, texture coords & co... 3 coordinates per vertice, if you're using floats that's already at least 2.5 million floats, or 9MB of data just for positioning. Now imagine a landscape with 16x16 chunks, that's 2.3GB of data to transfer to the graphic card. Ooooops.

If you're doing optimization based on the point of view (ex: "each cube has only 3 faces visible at any given time from a POV" or "lots of cubes can't be seen so don't draw those"), you may be able to draw less data. Let's say 1/3, that's still 700MB of data that you have to send to the graphic card often enough to keep coherency, because you'll have to regenerate all those vertex arrays/indice arrays at every move of the camera, it's going to take lots of CPU AND saturate the PCIe/AGP bus.

Thus, you have to do optimizations based on the terrain itself (always valid until you break a block) or the player position (player cannot move at high speeds) instead, for example :
- don't draw faces when there are 2 contiguous blocks
- do some kind of "level of detail", by "grouping" blocks that are really far away (using octrees and such algorithms)
- remove stuff that's too far away
- use tesselation to subdivide big cubes into smaller ones
- etc...

To sum it up: the risk with Minecraft is not drawing too many polygons, but saturating the PCIe/AGP bus by changing what you have to draw too often, and that's quite different from lots of games where models are precomputed and quite small.

Re:Minecraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35420006)

Seriously? The scenegraph is not complex. There's what, a couple dozen different types of blocks, so just send the voxels over to the card as vertices, use color as an identifier, and let a shader turn them into blocks. It's not rocket science, and it certainly doesn't require sending a whole new scenegraph over whenever you move the camera.

Wowsers. my captcha is "notching".

Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417242)

some real cool shit once in a while !

this thing can actually develop into a more powerful gaming platform if people just concentrate on it.

and, its actually free !!

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417372)

Hate to admit it but yes, this thing looks very cool. To an 80s game programmer (like me) it would have been a dream machine - four-way hardware scroll and a ton of sprites.

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418630)

And, as a bonus, all data to/from the graphics engine is sipped through a SPI pipe. If you thought that old AGP 4x was slow, wait until you go through SPI.

Wait.... PCI-express is a serial protocol... SPI is a serial protocol. Doesn't that mean that they have the same performance ;-)

The CPU-PPU parallel port on the NES (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419386)

On the Nintendo Entertainment System, data between the CPU and the PPU was pushed through an 8-bit parallel port whose practical maximum was 1 byte per 8 CPU cycles, or about 224 kB per second. That'd be fine, except all transfers had to finish during vertical blanking, the 8% of the time that the PPU was resting between frames. There was a faster hardware-assisted copy that could push 256 bytes in 512 cycles, but it worked only for OAM (sprite display lists), not background maps or graphical tiles. If this Gameduino has a clock rate faster than 1.8 MHz, and/or it allows copies to VRAM during draw time, it already has more VRAM bandwidth than the NES.

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419754)

I don't think bandwidth is an issue in this design. I mean, once the initial data is copied to the RAM on the gameduino, how much really has to change per frame for the average sprite based game with a scrolling background? If you're just scrolling horizontally, you only need to change less than 40 bytes for each 8 pixels moved, and updating the coordinates and character mappings for a few sprites isn't exactly a massive task, nor is checking for collisions as it's hardware based.

I think one thing that could be added to really enhance it would be multiple character-based layers, as used in the later 80's arcade games - maybe even with hardware zooming. That would allow some pretty nice fake 3d effects.

I'd love to see a vector-based version of this made - as in the arduino would just fill memory on the shield with a draw list (like that used on the old Atari vector games: http://www.kfu.com/~nsayer/games/vecops.txt [kfu.com] ) - although it wouldn't be a true vector engine, deflecting the beam, a facsimile could be made, I'm sure. It would be way cool to see a copy of Tempest up and running on something like this!

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417388)

this thing can actually develop into a more powerful gaming platform if people just concentrate on it.

I think the point is kinda that it's *not* powerful. It's about the right speed to natively run retro games.

In a way it sorta reminds me of the Dingoo A320 [wikipedia.org] . I've got one of those, it's pretty awesome. What's not to love about Metal Slug 2 in your pocket? :D

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417432)

i said 'can develop'. not 'is'. remember what pentium overdrive was ?

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35417518)

remember what pentium overdrive was ?

A fiasco? :-P

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417658)

no - as concept - it was some odd, but doable idea for expanding capabilities of a limited technology.

if enough time and money was spent on it, they may have made it work well.

point is, there are many ways to expand a platform/technology. possibilities are as varied as one's imagination.

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418218)

Is the Dingoo A320 powerful enough to run Neo-Geo games in native resolution with full audio at 30p/60i FPS?

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419162)

It's pretty beefy (especially for the price) - 330MHz or thereabouts, 32MB of RAM, 4gig of flash. Not sure of the exact framerate it gets in Neo Geo emulation but it looks pretty smooth on most games. This video [youtube.com] shows some gameplay.

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421108)

YouTube is now completely useless. It keeps asking me to log into my account but I don't remember the password and it was created with a throw-away email account.

If I click "sign out", then try to click on your link to view the video, it remembers my username and ask me to login again.

The worst part? I deleted all YouTube cookies, so why does it remember me?

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421132)

Ah, I see... had to delete all cookies which contained "Google". Next up: making YouTube completely useless by forcing WebM down our throats.

And even Slashdot buttons look like crap now...

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421148)

Even worst, HTML5 playback doesn't work anymore. Good-bye YouTube, Google is officially the new Microsoft.

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35425670)

:( Well, it looks pretty much like it does in the arcade, but only 2.4 inches across. :P Very playable. :)

As for GooTube, try logging out of Gmail.

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35426846)

I don't have a GMail account.

Deleting both the YouTube and Google cookies worked. but their HTML5 playback in H.264 no longer works in Safari. Are they starting to sabotage H.264 support on YouTube to try and push WebM? Safari doesn't do WebM and I deleted Flash from my system. Vimeo works fine in HTML5, in fact better than YouTube (when it used to work, for the handful of videos that had HTML5 support to begin with).

Re:Not bad ! not bad !!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418232)

If someone could port MAME to it (for at least most of the earliest 2D games) and they'll sell thousands instead of hundreds.

A coprocessor which runs FORTH? (3, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417316)

The thing has a compressor with access to the video RAM which runs FORTH? I bet the guy who came up with that design has a beard....

Re:A coprocessor which runs FORTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35438548)

SVFIG meeting Palo Alto, Fourth Saturday, March 26, 2011 , More Arduino-Too Much for One Day!!!

NOTES TO FIRST-TIME ATTENDEES:
1) Please note that this is NOT the native Arduino "sketches" development environment. Forth is an exciting alternative! Information for Forth beginners will be provided at the meeting and going forward.

3) Look at the additional online information: http://www.forth.org/svfig/next.html

The Gameduino: a video game adapter for the Arduino --- James Bowman

James has finished up his latest project, the Gameduino: a video game adapter for the Arduino:
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2084212109/gameduino-an-arduino-game-adapter

the on-board coprocessor is a Forth-powered J1 core, running at 50 MIPS.

    http://excamera.com/sphinx/gameduino/hardware.html#coprocessor

He should have it running under amForth by the meeting!

babbys?LSI/W+dog/SRF; evil requires fear to thrive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35417374)

like in the films, & most of the manuals? so get over it (associated behaviors). then it will flee? do the math. check your dna/intentional conscious healing potential etc... the greatest rescue ever to unfold? see you at any one of the scheduled million baby+ play-dates, consciousness arisings, georgia stone editing(s),,,, & a host of other life promoting events. be there or be scared.

Not just for games (4, Insightful)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417422)

Having video output from an arduino would be useful for all sorts of projects, not just games.

Re:Not just for games (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417512)

...also very true (but I have no mod points today).

400x300 isn't massive resolution but I bet there's a lot of uses for something like that in public information displays, or just showing debug info for your Arduino project.

Re:Not just for games (2)

nostrad (879390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417720)

It's an FPGA on there with verilog code available. Go grab the Xilinx WebPack (free, windows/linux), get a JTAG cable (I've seen Xilinx USB-clones for less than $50 on eBay) and get cracking.

Getting to know the tools is hard, learning to think in VHDL/Verilog is hard (at least if you're not used to thinking in terms of logic gates and other hardware) but you can transform that board into pretty much any hardware you'd like and control it from the arduino. The reason for the 400x300 is probably memory limitations on the Spartan chip, some clever design/coding to optimise memory to your application should help with that.

Re:Not just for games (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417928)

Well, I guess you could do that...

There's only 32k of video RAM though so you won't be able to go *too* crazy.

400x300 only : Games oriented display (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419628)

32k is small for the intended usage :
- a gaming device.

Games need the caracter map to be able to display full-colour tiles, using several palette, features truckloads of sprites (up to 256) collision detection, etc.
(==the equivalent of rather good console/arcade video chip of the late-8bit to 16bit era)

That's purely overkill for debugging, where one only needs to display ASCII (a 256 character set of monocrhome tiles - no palettes, except maybe for selecting a different foreground colour on specific character position on screen), and maybe a couple of monochrome sprites (cursors).
(== the equivalent of a VGA in text mode)

Re:Not just for games (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417822)

It's arguably overkill for debugging purposes, since the Arduino already has USB -> serial support for communication with a computer(and on the bench, you'll have your computer, and in the field, a cheap 'n nasty laptop just new enough to have a USB port and run a terminal emulator will be cheaper and more battery powered than just about anything that accepts VGA input), or a logic-level Rx/Tx for chatting some more basic serial device, or can drive an HD44780 display with 6 pins(fewer if you snag one of the ones with a serial drive mode).

On the other hand, getting a VGA-compatible graphics device(plus sound) in only 4 data pins plus power is pretty cool, and certainly opens up a world of sensor-data visualization and other cool stuff, not necessarily gaming related, that would otherwise require dragging along an entire computer, just using the arduino as a more or less dumb ADC/TTL GPIO module, or building lots and lots of clunky LED arrays and such...

Definitely a cool looking device.

Re:Not just for games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35418994)

Having video output from an arduino would be useful for all sorts of projects, just not games.

FYP

Re:Not just for games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35419098)

There's been a simple (text only, 80x24) VGA shield for some times now:

http://www.microvga.com/

There's also this one which does composite video:

http://www.batsocks.co.uk/products/Shields/TellyMate%20Shield.htm

Arduino is agreat plateform to learn on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35417450)

Being an electronics beginner, I have found the Arduino to be incredibly easy to use. Ok, it saves you from all the technical detail of wiring up a micro-controller, but it's a great way to get into this sort of hardware. Useful sites -
arduino.cc

http://balau82.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/getting-started-with-arduino-uno-on-ubuntu/
http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/32392/?mod=MagOur&a=f
http://hubpages.com/hub/Arduino-Uno

XGameStation also provides retro-gaming hardware (4, Interesting)

Yesfan001 (1060170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417696)

Another option for retro-gaming hardware is Andre LaMothe's XGameStation [xgamestation.com] line of DIY kits.

Looks like they now have a "Chameleon" [xgamestation.com] line of kits, in both 8- and 16-bit flavors, which are similar to Arduino or BASIC Stamp systems.

I have not personally used these, but they appear to be pretty cool.

Enjoy.

- -
Pete

Re:XGameStation also provides retro-gaming hardwar (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35422694)

The Uzebox [belogic.com] is another one, which has a bigger developer folllowing than the Chameleon boards and even has an emulator for development use.

Is there a point? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417736)

I mean, cool factor is always cool, but does this really provide better capabilities than what is possible with homebrew on some other system that would cost you no more to get started on?

Re:Is there a point? (0)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418040)

Are you like, 14? Try to escape the gravity of your short sightedness and put some imagination into the invisible world around you.

Yes, yes there's a point, but you aren't privy to it because your imagination is dead and clings limply over you as faux-darkness.

Maybe it costs a lot more than the next cheapest identical solution. Can we find a repose that uses more than black, and white?

If you really are 14, you have no right being uncreative. You seriously need to look beyond yourself for where your creative thoughts could be, and walk the invisible support toward it -- you might be elated when it supports you...

Re:Is there a point? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419936)

Maybe it costs a lot more than the next cheapest identical solution. Can we find a repose that uses more than black, and white?

That was what I was asking, almost; s/identical/similar/

If you really are 14, you have no right being uncreative.

If you really registered that UID all by yourself, you have no right thinking I'm 14 after all the years we've both been here.

This won't get you sued (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418098)

does this really provide better capabilities than what is possible with homebrew

This won't get you sued, unlike homebrew where Nintendo and Sony routinely sue companies that deal in homebrew-related hardware. If the video can be redone into more consumer-electronics-friendly formats (composite, S-Video, component), it might even be possible to use this as a platform for developing and selling your own standalone TV games [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This won't get you sued (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35420272)

This won't get you sued, unlike homebrew where Nintendo and Sony routinely sue companies that deal in homebrew-related hardware.

It's interesting that this list doesn't include Microsoft. I know there to be a homebrew scene at least on the original Xbox. I imagine there to be less of one on the 360 (XNA aside) but I've never even looked into it so I honestly have no idea. I can't recall anyone ever getting into trouble for using the official XDK, although there were plenty of hoops jumped through for the sake of avoiding such unpleasantness... and because I don't recall doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Re:This won't get you sued (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421358)

Nintendo and Sony routinely sue companies that deal in homebrew-related hardware.

It's interesting that this list doesn't include Microsoft. I know there to be a homebrew scene at least on the original Xbox.

Hence present tense. In the past tense, Microsoft was one of the companies that sued Lik Sang out of existence.

I imagine there to be less of one on the 360 (XNA aside)

As I understand it, the far smaller 360 homebrew scene is due to XNA and Media Center Extender. XNA is an official way to make and sell homebrew games, and MCE does much of what the Xbox version of XBMC did.

Re:This won't get you sued (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35429084)

This hardware design (character playfield + palettes + sprites) is very much like TV game hardware (SunPlus, WinBond, Elan, etc.) but less powerful (single playfield instead of multiple, smaller memory size, 4 colour instead of 16 or 256 etc.) so it is more like a souped-up NES (with higher resolution and less problems with sprites-per-line) rather than a SNES or the 2D side of a DS.

I think the lessons learned on this would be very helpful with programming that type of hardware, and the tools for creating assets would be pretty much the same. It sounds a lot more sensible than the early Xgamestation products anyway.

Re:This won't get you sued (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35429152)

so it is more like a souped-up NES (with higher resolution and less problems with sprites-per-line)

So in other words like a TurboGrafx.

Re:Is there a point? (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418816)

This is an open platform, with a great software interface. Complete documentation that is written by the guys who made it (not some reverse-engineered stuff).

Also, try to homebrew on a NES. Guess what? You also need a cartridge with some FLASH memory on board. Those are not free. I would imagine that the homebrew "development kit" is not nearly as polished as the Arduino & Gameduino.

Re:Is there a point? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419964)

Also, try to homebrew on a NES. Guess what? You also need a cartridge with some FLASH memory on board.

You really can't just ZIF an EEPROM? You can get a prom burner for like ten bucks. You can get a ZIF for about that. You can get an iron for about ten bucks. You can get a NES for about ten bucks. You can get solder and braid for about ten bucks. IIRC this shield is about fifty bucks and you still need some kind of Arduino to attach it to. Either way you need some kind of PC, too. Anyway I'm not suggesting that this device has no purpose, I'm asking if this device has no purpose.

Car analogy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35417748)

Adding an FPGA to an arduino is about as intuitive to me as adding a V8 to a Prius.

Re:Car analogy? (2)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35417958)

And using a SPI interface to control it is like using Lego as a drive train from the V8 to the rest of the car.

But, you see, anything with Arduino in the name is instamagically popular. As stupid as using an Arduino is, this project has a much bigger chance of success as an Arduino shield than as a standalone board.

I'm too lazy to check, but I'm willing to bet there are Arduino shields out there that only use the Arduino for power.

Re:Car analogy? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418460)

Well, using a digital systems control chip to run a gaming engine is about the same thing as using a Prius to play polo.

But the game folks seem to think it's cool, so as long as they are happy, I guess... doesn't set the cause of open source robotics forward much, though.

Uzebox (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35418148)

The Uzebox [belogic.com] is another ATMega-based game console, except this one doesn't cheat with a big FPGA on top of it. They cheat by overclocking the AVR.

One thing that seems missing from a quick overview of the Gameduino... what about the gamepads? They talk about video, audio, sprites, registers, etc... but nothing about controllers.

Re:Uzebox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35419310)

It's assumed you build the controls yourself, or use your own adapter, I think (see the kickstarter video, with the home-built arcade pad).
NES pads are pretty simple to hook up, though - there's a library available for the Arduino, and you only need to hook up five pins.

Gamepad options (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419482)

The asteroids page [excamera.com] claims that a game uses a set of four push buttons (left, right, up, fire). This means an Atari 2600 joystick or a Sega Genesis gamepad would likely work with the appropriate connector, as those are electrically similar in a way to a set of common-ground push buttons. Or an NES or Super NES controller could be connected as an SPI slave.

Re:Gamepad options (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35419840)

Another option is to pick up an old arcade machine from an operator for next to nothing and canibalize the sticks and buttons from that (or just buy them from Ebay, they're not expensive)

Re:Gamepad options (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421048)

Just because it uses the same connection doesn't mean the SEGA Genesis gamepad isn your typical dumb switches Atari-style joystick. It uses a 74HC157 internally.

My point was that the Gameduino should have specified an interface from the start to simplify the whole thing. Some people will go with an Atari interface, others with a SNES interface, and so on... Games will be compatible on everything except controllers, which is kind of dumb since it's the easiest part to do.

Re:Gamepad options (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35421414)

Just because it uses the same connection doesn't mean the SEGA Genesis gamepad isn your typical dumb switches Atari-style joystick.

Yet switches muxed by a 74HC157 are compatible with a lot of devices expecting common-ground dumb switches and vice versa.

My point was that the Gameduino should have specified an interface from the start to simplify the whole thing.

There are really only two standards that need support: SNES (SPI) and Genesis (multiplexed parallel switches). Have you mentioned this to the Gameduino folks?

Re:Uzebox (1)

Nevo (690791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35420680)

The Gameduino handles the video output. Any input device you'd like can be connected to the Arduino that's running the show.

Not too retro is quite apt (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35420238)

We're talking about a processor that can reach up to 66MHz. Which isn't too stellar from the point of view that we share today concerning Processor speed, but consider:

No need for a heavyweight OS (no need for multitasking, no need to consider other programs running).
No need for a hypervisor or other DRM (seriously, nobody but the maker of commercial software wants it)
No need for "generalist" hardware (just plug in the hardware your current game needs).

The result is surprisingly little overhead. Almost 100% of the hardware's capability goes into the game. Yes, we'll have to optimize again and we'll still never reach anything resembling a game that has been around for less than 10 years. But imagine the idea, building your own mix-and-match (mobile) game console. Or how about a wearable game rig? Yes, the games will be no more sophisticated than what you can do on your mobile phone. If that. But still, we'll probably see far less "retro" games than we'd expect from such limited hardware, I wouldn't deem it impossible that we can reach a level where simple 3D games become very possible.

Hackvision is super cheap (and super retro) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35420274)

I have a Hackvision. It's based on Arduino technology, but doesn't require an Arduino or external controllers (although you can add them -- the platform is hackable). Some good games like Space Invaders and Asteroids.
http://nootropicdesign.com/hackvision/ [nootropicdesign.com]

FPGA Arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423060)

Is almost shipping, check it out!
http://www.fpgaarcade.com/

papilio arcarde (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35423878)

Gadget factory has a Papilio Arcade with an Spartan 3E, video out and joystick in for $99.99. there are plenty of arcade games and you can run Arduino software, etc.

avga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35442940)

you don't actually need additional hardware, one atmega is enough: http://avga.prometheus4.com/index.php?p=4-0

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