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Games Hardware

Arduino Gaming: Not So Retro Any More 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-and-shiny dept.
beckman101 writes "Two years ago the Gameduino brought retro-style gaming to the Arduino. This week its successor launched on Kickstarter, still fully open-source but with a video that shows it running some contemporary-looking demos. Plus, it has a touch screen and a pretty decent 3-axis accelerometer. Farewell to the retro?"
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Arduino Gaming: Not So Retro Any More

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  • Why use Arduino for homebrew retro gaming having other ATMEGA based platform specifically designed for retro gaming? If you do not know the GPL licensed UZEBOX console, you should give it a try!

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Or why not just go to Chinamart and get one of those nice "MP4 Players" that are already put together and have controllers built in and everything?

      I'm sure the guys that make them would be happy to hand you the code if you asked, after all all they care about is selling the hardware and they already brag about what systems it emulates so its not like they give a rat's ass about IP laws. Plus since it'll run ROMs straight from the MicroSD no problem baking your own homebrew, just choose what system (NES,Sup

      • by Pubstar (2525396)
        If only I had mod points - I actually own one of the bootleg PSOne looking devices from some store from Hong Kong. All the classic emulation works amazing on them.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @05:14AM (#45079687)

    so I'm seeing Super Nintendo / Game cube quality graphics there... so no, it's still retro.

    • by AC-x (735297) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @05:39AM (#45079765)

      Damn, when did Gamecube become "retro"? Am I really that old?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by wbr1 (2538558)
        Yes, you are.

        I knew I was old as soon as I started hearing songs I listened to in Middle/High school on the radio labeled as classic rock.

        (and then my hair fell out)

        • by turp182 (1020263)

          Hear hear, the local rock station regularly plays Iron Maiden as part of regular programming. Such bands would only get played on the radio during "heavy metal" night back in the early 1990s. It's weird hearing Maiden's Run to the Hills next to Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin...

    • by slim (1652)

      SNES and Gamecube are two generations apart.

  • With this, Raspberry Pi, Arduino Tre, pcDuino, Beagleboard etc. the market for low-cost, bare-bones, graphics capable single-board computers is getting pretty crowded...

    • by Goaway (82658)

      This is not a computer. It's an add-on board.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        yeah yeah you keep telling yourself that.

        http://www.ftdichip.com/Products/ICs/FT800.html [ftdichip.com] this into an atmel?

        I think there wold be a better market for this thing as providing io to raspberry pi projects rather than arduino.. it's a rather ridiculously mismatched with an 8 bit atmel.. sure you can have 2000 sprites but uh are you going to have ram on the arduino to keep tabs on even where they are?

        • by Goaway (82658)

          "Keep telling myself that"? It's a trivially confirmable fact, and you confirmed it by linking the data sheet, so I don't know what you are on about.

          And it is quite well matched to the Atmel. It would be pointless on a Raspberry Pi, which has a far more capable GPU built in. This is a GPU specifically built to allow low-spec microcontrollers to drive a graphical user interface.

          You really should try to take a bit more time to look into it before trying to score points on the internet.

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            raspberry doesn't come with a cheap screen with touch input. this has practical value for raspberry projects - why I said raspberry? because it's cheap, available and many projects need a screen for ouput and some method of input: thus I said it would be great for raspberry io.

            it is quite well matched to avr if you want to do a touch ui for a washing machine. it's the ram on the arduino itself that I see as the problem for creating anything really interesting.

            the point is that I don't see the point in marke

        • Apart from memory connected to the video controller, the Nintendo Entertainment System has 2048 bytes of RAM. (Many games, especially later ones, have an extra 8192 bytes on the Game Pak PCB to store large destructible maps.) The ATmega328 in the Arduino Uno also has 2048 bytes of RAM. The ATmega2560 has 8192 bytes, like a Sega Master System. (Source [arduino.cc]) Tricks to use memory more efficiently include byte-sized variables and even bitfield variables.
      • by AC-x (735297)

        ... which when combined with an Arduino ends up being something rather similar to the other single board computers I mentioned, just with considerably worse CPU spec.

        I suppose you could pair it with a Arduino Tre or pcDuino for better CPU spec, but is this GPU any better than the GPUs built into those boards...

        • It's not really a 'GPU' at all in the current sense of term(Do modern 'GPU's even do hardware sprites anymore, or do they just treat them as special, particularly flat, cases of textured polygons?); but if you are into the retro aesthetic and design style/limitations, a chip that does high-speed sprite jockeying is probably going to make you a lot happier than any of the 'Yup, just another OpenGL ES GPU that your desktop would stomp on; but which is so powerful that you would have sold your soul for it back
          • by AC-x (735297)

            Sure this GPU may be more 2D oriented than the others, but any of those other 3D SoC GPUs are just a library away from doing easy 2D sprites as either 3D planes or even simply doing pixel plotting (after all a 300mhz PC was powerful enough to emulate a SNES at full speed).

            • Oh, I'd be the last to claim that most 'retro' computing projects make a whole lot of sense, except perhaps as pedagogical exercises (I have a personal fondness for 'retro' projects involving actual old-school hardware, also a totally irrational hobby; but I find the enthusiasm for using pitifully-weak-but-modern gear kind of baffling), just that if you do happen to swing that way, this FTDI device looks like the graphics and sound synthesis device for you, in a way that contemporary hardware could certainl
  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @06:32AM (#45079957)
    I understand the market for the Pi, arduino, et al. But this is pre-built, and presumably the dev environment is nothing portable outside its own very limited eco system. Sure you have all the IO of the arduino for toying with novel ways of having game input, but that is about it.

    Now lets compare it with android. Available cheap, yes. Available with large screens, yes, available in variety's that have pretty durn snappy CPU/GPU combos, yes, large market base, yes, IO (USB, bluetooth, and even NFC, yes, robust dev tools and libraries, yes.

    Please don't misunderstand me, I like the concept, but fail to see the utility. If I want to play games, my Optimus G plays better ones than this (which still looks retro! Frogger? Space invaders? Simple platformers?), and I can emulate to play whatever retro stuff I want. If I want to develop games, I have all the tools necessary as well.

    Can anyone give me some really feasible use cases for this?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Some people enjoy the "programming" part (some people even enjoy it more then the "playing" part).

      • by slim (1652)

        ... and as OP said "If I want to develop games, I have all the tools necessary as well." -- there are cheaper ways to code games.

        If you specifically find entertainment in programming within limitations - low RAM etc, then this could be a fun environment to play around in. You'd have to live with the fact that the potential audience for a game on this platform would be tiny.

        If you want to to produce something for your portfolio - to show to potential employers - I guess this could be an option. "Look I wrote

        • At that point, why not just code for the Nintendo Entertainment System? It has about the same amount of RAM as an Arduino Uno, and your potential employer's HR department likely grew up playing it. In any case, either this or the NES is likely a useful counterpart to certain Slashdot users who claim developers of games for these limited platforms are "living in the past".
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it makes for a cheap dev env for ft800(the chip that makes all the nice things in this happen).

      other than that, fuck it. what do you need the arduino for in this? isn't this like driving a raspberry from an arduino except raspberry is more capable in every possible way than the ft800. AND FUCKING CHEAPER!!!!

      (I wouldn't be using !!! if this was sold as a ft800 devkit. but no, selling it is full of hype that makes no sense).

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      The Gameduino is for the game developer and not the gamer. Gamers aren't going to run out and buy an arduino along with a gameduino and play a game. Working in a memory and CPU constrained programming environment challenges the developer to be more efficient and optimize code. Whereas with a PC, Android or iOS system you have plenty of RAM, storage and graphics capability so you can be pretty sloppy in your code and get away with it.

      • Whereas with a PC, Android or iOS system you have plenty of RAM, storage and graphics capability so you can be pretty sloppy in your code and get away with it.

        Man, I don't have fond memories of memory/resource management in the old PC and C64 day. Not having to deal 64k blocks for expanded memory is a good thing.

        In this day and age, multi-threaded programming is more important than managing memory IMHO. I've done my share of sloppy code, mostly because I had more important things to deal with. Sometimes a

    • Well, sometimes its cool to use tools and program on something that most people aren't coding on. I coded a text based 21 Blackjack game on a TRS-80 Model IV back in the day. I also coded a game using Simon's Basic on a C-64. Hardly anyone else did, but it was still cool and I learned a lot.

      I don't think its so much for playing or coding the latest games as it is to learn about micro-controllers and low-level game programming AND not everyone is "doing" it. Like everyone that jumped on the Java bandwago

    • by Creedo (548980)

      Can anyone give me some really feasible use cases for this?

      Sure. You have a ton of Arduino stuff already set up, and this is a new addition to the number of interesting projects you can play with. In my case, the original Gameduino was fun to mess around with as a learning tool, both for myself and my kids. In addition, I plan to use it as a general purpose display for other 8 bit projects. This version just gives us more to play with.

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