RetroWiz

Discuss anything not related to the current Uzebox design like successors and other open source gaming hardware
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Kerby
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by Kerby » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:36 am

probably in late December 2037
:lol: :lol: :lol:
The problem with all creative people - the idea in my head is piling up faster than it is physical ability and free time!

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by D3thAdd3r » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:44 pm

So I just got this going on my 32" LCD "dev tv" and I have to say I am impressed with several things. I didn't like the VGA concept until I saw the picture quality on the dev tv. My multiple uzebox(uzeboxes, uzeboxen?) looks good on one small ~16" LCD I have, but bad on the larger dev one(as does nes,snes,genesis/megsdrive,ps1,famicom hold true to this too) so I need a huge CRT tv for all my retro-gaming machines to look good.

The lower color depth and resolution is noticeable(only played pacman so far) but I wouldn't say it was a bad tradeoff for perfect clarity on LCD. We are definitely talking about 2 very different machines in the same vein which is cool. The thing is very cheap so if you bought/built an Uzebox I would say it's worth it to have one of these too(I like to collect stuff). Keep in mind it is much less developed than the Uzebox as a platform; there is not really much documentation and consequentially less newbie friendly. If you don't already have some kind of ISP to program it with then it ends up about the same price as Uzebox.

I like the keyboard-retro-pc-vga feel to it. People might be surprised how small this thing is actually, I was. Anyways, I would recommend buying a RetroWiz; it doesn't have much for games at this point but it's fun in that "this thing is cool" way.
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uze6666
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by uze6666 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:38 pm

Nice little board, the addition of the keyboard interface is a good move and "marketing" it as a retro computer is a nice twist. I guess it makes sense in the overcrowded market of game console and platforms! :-P

I know, the interpolation on most big LCD TVs is pretty bad for all composite signals (is S-Video also bad on your TV?). VGA was something I considered back then but the resolution was and still is a tad too low for my taste. That said, image is also more sharp so it's a tie I guess. Always wanted to do a retro-computer myself (Uzebox was supposed to be one initialy) so I can appreciate the RetroWiz and the work and tough choices behind it. When do we see Sokoban ported to RetroWiz? :lol:

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by D3thAdd3r » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:33 am

Funny thing is the only LCD I have with s-video is the weird computer monitor with built in tv one that looks great right over composite. I never got s-video to work on it but I think it was the tv and never looked into it. I suspect its lower resolution is maybe an integral multiple of 240 or a better conversion process maybe. I don't mind having a big CRT around, I find it feels more authentic for classic consoles anyway. If someone needs perfect output on LCD probably euzebox SCART->HDMI or tap the rgb lines. Cheap convertor I am considering buying per this guys advice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS55pmLIEjA but then I have to buy a SCART cable for every console or rgb mod all of them :shock:

Yeah NTSC vs VGA..I think you made the right choice, but probably with the same amount of effort, skill, and time I bet a VGA uzebox would have also succeeded;a wash really it's more about how much development got done. I barely know anything about how RetroWiz works but I did take a glance through all the code this afternoon. In 50 years from now, porting SW over will be a major undertaking. It seems there are some tricks to be done with the video DAC that could help with the limited color selection, but 1/2 flash space(though graphics only take 1/2 space) and 1/2 ram(though "ram tiles" take 1/2 space) would mean the levels have to go on the SD card and all my menus, title screens, effects, and everything else I relied on ram tiles for would have to be done different. It need's petitfs ported over, a bootloader, a music engine, and an emulator for development to be "easy". It's probably fair to say anything ported over to RetroWiz would be graphically inferior with less features due to code space constraint, with some reworking and tricks maybe that could be minimized. Sheer number of sprites should work out to be a tie, but I would have to know more about the overlay vram setup to be sure. I think it is basically like Mode 3 ram tiles.

Interestingly, on Uzebox, I think I could make Sokoban World:Unlimited Levels Edition with the cut scene movies I wanted in 32k now with the new kernel upgrades, compressed sprites and tiles, SD->vram, and levels+demos offloaded to SD :lol:

Edit: I do want to steal the keyboard code if possible :ugeek:

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Kilo
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by Kilo » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:23 pm

I built this one years ago based on the simple circuit from http://www.dietrich-kindermann.de/uniboard.html

So, because of a missing SD Card, I implemented a Kind of bootloader where I can start different games.
There was Tetris, Pacman, Mario, Arkanoid, Dungeon, Snake and a racing game.

Then I built an arcade cab and integrated this into it.
So, I built actually a "Jamma" Version of it.
Now I can choose a game in a hidden menu and start it. Also implemented a coin Counter.
After I sold this cab and found this thread, it tingles in my fingers :lol:

I guess I will build another one! ;)
The last digit of Pi is 7! I calculated this, as I counted to infinity yesterday!

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Jubatian
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by Jubatian » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:39 pm

The big innovation of RetroWiz is using 4 bits for video instead of 8, provinding an RGBI palette (similar to EGA and available colors on some 8 bit machines such as the ZX Spectrum). This allows for realizing video modes with fewer clocks per pixel (the loaded color can be used for 2 pixels using a swap), that way it can go for realizing VGA which normally would need almost twice the clock of Uzebox for similar video modes. However of course the available color choices suffer.

(In some topics similar tricks were also described for Uzebox by utilizing only 4 lines of the out, the rest made inputs, although nobody made video modes for it in the end. On Uzebox more useful palettes can be achieved with a left or right shift between the two outs. EDIT: I found the topic: Upcoming obscure video modes).

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: RetroWiz

Post by D3thAdd3r » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:31 pm

Alas I imagined back in the day, that I would release at least a game(a port of some Uzebox game probably) on the RetroWiz but it never happened and I suppose is unlikely at this point. I had run into some issues and I guess it sort of made me lose interest. I checked it out and it seemed I had the exact version of the Commander Keen demo on my machine, but after some time it would run into some strange sprite corruption I couldn't figure out. The build itself(purchased presoldered) was excellent and I just figured it was something similar to Uzebox where a percentage of '644 just cannot do it without overvolt. Well, it is interesting still even though it seems more or less abandoned. If it had an emulator, I would probably try to port Megatris to it or something similar. The picture quality of the pixels itself(minus the wicked sprite corruption that would eventually happen) I remember being ulta VGA crisp.

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