Emulating the DCPU on an AVR

[skywodd] just finished his own DCPU emulator (French, translation) based on [notch]‘s upcoming game, 0x10c. The neat thing about [skywodd]‘s build is his emulator uses the lowly ATMega328, the same microcontroller found in (some) Arduinos.

The DCPU specification goes over the operations required of any DCPU emulator. There’s a lot of crazy stuff here – a division instruction that takes only 3 clock cycles, using an overflow for carry conditions, and a complete lack of a JMP instruction – but [skywodd] was able to tease something apart from DCPU studio and a VGA interface

Everything in this emulator is built on a solderless breadboard, but the ROM and RAM isn’t complete yet. As of now, everything is handled by the ’328, using 478 bytes of RAM on the microprocessor.

We promised we would be holding a contest for the best physical implementation of the DCPU when we caught wind of 0x10c, and [skywodd]‘s build is starting to look like the beginnings of the winning entry. We honestly have no idea when we’ll be holding this contest, but it’ll probably be shortly after the first playable release. Go bug [notch] if you’d like to speed up the progress, because obviously Twitter abuse speeds up software development.

6 thoughts on “Emulating the DCPU on an AVR

  1. Cool project.

    Re the contest: Would this really qualify as a physical implementation if it’s an emulator? If so, where is the line drawn between a hardware and software implementation?

    To me, it seems like a physical implementation would mean logic chips or an FPGA.

    1. We’re going to be looking for something that is functionally equivalent to the DCPU.

      This means emulation is okay, but we’ll probably break it down into a few categories: Most insane (74xx and FPGAs), most exact (has the same case as the 0x10c computer), and whatever this category is.

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