New Features Incubator

Discuss general Uzebox topics here: features, wish list. nice to have, etc.

What feature would you most like to see first?

SD Card Interface
35
64%
Universal Serial Joystick Interface
8
15%
Ethernet Interface
10
18%
Wireless Joystick
2
4%
 
Total votes: 55

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uze6666
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New Features Incubator

Post by uze6666 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:56 am

This topic is open for new hardware features discussions. So far, from the forums, some winners arises:

1. SD card interface: Would allow some cool stuff like being able to reprogram games without connecting to your computer. And wouldn't it be uber-geek to play your favorite (decompressed) mp3s for hours, perhaps with some winamp-style 8-bit visualizations?!! :mrgreen:
2. "Universal" serial joystick interface: I agree that NES connectors are tougher to find and a bit more expensive too. Some proposed adding shift registers that would allow to connect Amiga and other digital joysticks with cheap DB9 connectors, this is a great idea.
3. Ethernet interface: Connect to the world, browse text pages, play online through a (yet to exist) open-source gaming server with an standardized open API for common types of games...Megatris vs PC Tetris!
4.Wireless Joystick Interface: Ultra cheap serial TX-RX module pairs (8$) abounds on the net and would make it very easy to do. This could avoid the NES connectors ports, but would require hacking the controllers.

In all cases, I think its important to keep the spirit of the project. It should be absolute minimum part count and through-hole components so it easy to assemble. Concerning an eventual PCB: I envisioned to have a single PCB with the basic circuitry *and* all options laid down. Peoples could then start quickly (and cheaply) and add more features when they want. On the other hand, this will yield a slightly larger PCB which in turn may cost a few bucks more. So its either one with everything or several customized versions. If it's no more than 5-10$, I'd stick with the first solution.

What do you think?

psyjax
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Re: New Features Incubator

Post by psyjax » Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:25 am

To me, as a programmer, the SD card bit sounds much more attractive :)

If I am gonna make little games for my uzebox, I'm gonna want to trade them with friends, or swap them on the fly without the hassle of flashing it from the computer. This, IMHO, will make it feel more like an actual retro-console and attract more programmers to the community.

A close second for me would be the joypad. It would be great to be able to connect USB joypads to it, but I imagine that's a whole layer of complexity on the hardware (USB controller etc). I think it would be perfect if someone could track down some sort of low-end, generic, joypad manufacturer and add it to the parts list. I have seen allot of bootleg console that use joypads with that old Atari/Genesis connector. Obviously someone in china or hong kong is still making those, can we track them down?

The Ethernet connection is my third fav. for obvious reasons. But building the web portion, setting up some sort of server, etc. will require lots of effort by many people, we would need a rather sizable community to really justify it's existence. I think the uzebox could really take off, but for now, just an external storage media (SD card) should more than suffice to make it more programmer friendly.

My experience in electronics is very basic. I made some simple radios with my dad as a kid, but that's about it :) But, even those radios came with a kit and a nice set of detailed instructions so even a noob could follow along. I am planing on trying to build this baby myself using some books, basic tools, and (hopefully) the help of these forums. I hope, that in this process, I can compile a step-by-step guide to help anyone, at any skill level, put one together.

Ideally, with the addition of a PCB, perhaps some sort of official uzebox kit could be distributed?

CompMan
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Location: Kent, WA

Re: New Features Incubator

Post by CompMan » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:03 am

psyjax wrote:Obviously someone in china or hong kong is still making those, can we track them down?
The Atari/Genesis connector is just a standard 9 pin D-SUB connector nothing special. You could buy them at Digi-Key.

I like Ethernet but it is just not as functional. Think of all the 8-bit games that you would play online. I can't think of many.

I think we should pick two of these as our focus right now. The controllers and the SD interface. For the controllers we could use the 9 pin D-SUB connectors with some shift registers. This would make it so you could use the existing code and just change some of the hardware. The SD interface is where we should spend most of our time. It is a complex interface but when done it would make loading games simple.

Compman

psyjax
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Re: New Features Incubator

Post by psyjax » Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:32 am

CompMan wrote:
psyjax wrote:Obviously someone in china or hong kong is still making those, can we track them down?
The Atari/Genesis connector is just a standard 9 pin D-SUB connector nothing special. You could buy them at Digi-Key.
Yup :) I did some research on it earlier.

I'm wondering if there are any generic controls tho, that one could simply order, that still uses that connector.

CompMan
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Location: Kent, WA

Re: New Features Incubator

Post by CompMan » Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:47 am

I found a website that says they have three models coming soon. The one problem is the pinouts on the controllers may be different between systems. Not all of the Atari systems had the same pinouts. The website it http://www.xgamestation.com/browse_prod ... category=3.

Compman

vitals817
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Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:04 am

Re: New Features Incubator

Post by vitals817 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:20 pm

Got a cool idea but don't know if its possible or if so worth it.
I saw a while back a DIY wireless nes,snes and sega controllers for the wii.
It used a pic microcontroller and a TXC1 ASK transmitter module.
I think you should but able to change the receive end to work with the Uzebox.I have no programming skills.so don't know if its possible and it only uses 1 data line gamecube interface .that would be awesome.
You would not need nes controller ports with this
He is the link
http://www.ppl-pilot.com/index.htm
Check it out
matt
Last edited by vitals817 on Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

antibyte
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Re: New Features Incubator

Post by antibyte » Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:38 pm

http://www.obdev.at/products/avrusb/index.html

Not in the list, but would be a cool feature. :roll:
This is a Software-only USB interface for all AVR Chips.
There is a bootloader available using this code needing only 2K.
This way you could flash the UZEBOX over USB and it would
only add a few resistors and an USB connector to the project !
Problem is, the code must be adapted to the 28 MHz ....

http://www.fischl.de/avrusbboot/

CompMan
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Location: Kent, WA

Re: New Features Incubator

Post by CompMan » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:15 pm

antibyte wrote:...add a few resistors and an USB connector to the project!
This is similar to the SD interface we were looking at. It would only add two capacitors and a SD port.

Compman

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8bit
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Re: New Features Incubator

Post by 8bit » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:01 am

A SD Card interface would be great. I will start working on a game the day a noob guide to assembling the uzebox is released.
Thanks for creating this project anyway.

Btw. What program was used to create the map files?

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uze6666
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Re: New Features Incubator

Post by uze6666 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:38 am

SD card may be coming very soon.

Right now, it's a bit awkward. Maps need to be created in Photoshop/gimp, converted to the Uzebox palette, exported as raw bitmap and converted to map/tile using a custom Java tool (mainly to be cross platform). Since I needed 6x8 tiles, there's was no existing tile map tool I know of I could uze (sorry, use ;) ). Developing GUI apps in Java is a real pain in you know where! It would be great if someone could code or modify an existing graphical tool (matt perhaps?), because it's an essential tool for 8-bit games.

Btw, cool avatar, I need one!

Uze

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