Hackvision is build-your-own retro game

If you wanted to try your hand at programming some retro games Hackvision can jump-start the process. It is an Arduino-based game console in a controller format. You get four directional buttons and one function button. It has two RCA jacks for mono audio, and black and white video.

We’re happy to find that there’s information about game development that will help you follow along with the Space Invaders and Pong examples. The system uses the Arduino TVout library for video, which is robust and fairly easy to interact with. But once you see the game play in the video after the break it’ll be hard to resist building one of these. Don’t forget, this is Arduino based. If you already have an Arduino that uses an ATmega328 you just need to build the audio, video, and button circuits. Continue reading “Hackvision is build-your-own retro game”

Hackaday 10th Anniversary Update

The Hackaday 10th anniversary is going great guns. Attendees have already built line following robots with [Adam Fabio], learned lockpicking with [Datagram] and [Jon King]. [Jame Hobson's] team is building an awesome video game controller. The attendees are currently building LiPo battery chargers. [Todd Black] gave a great presentation on the care and feeding of LiPo batteries. He designed and built a PCB just for this event!

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Some familiar faces are on hand, such as [Chris Gammell], [Bil Herd], as well as the entire Hackaday editing team!

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Still to come are talks by [Steve Collins], [Quinn Dunki], [Jon McPhalen], and [Thundersqueak].

Want to check out the live view? Click our Hackvision streams!

8-Bit Video Game is Best of Retro Gaming on a Shoestring Budget

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[Petri] wrote in to show off the 8-bit gaming system and original platformer which he and [Antti] developed. Don’t get us wrong now, it’s impressive that the duo were able to put together what looks like a very interesting game. But we’ve seen many industry-leading video games developed with just one or two people (we’re thinking all the way back to the days of Atari). Nope, what’s most interesting to us is that the console is also their creation. We should note that the title screen was the work of their friend [Juho].

Take this with a grain of salt, as the bottom right image in the vignette obviously includes an Arduino. But isn’t it a testament to the state of open hardware and the sharing of knowledge through the Internet that this is even possible on the hobby level? And just because we call it “hobby” doesn’t mean you have to lower your expectations. This thing is full featured. Watch the clip after the break to see the ATmega328 driving a 104×80 resolution screen with a 256 color palette, while using four audio channels for the chiptunes. The thing even utilizes an original NES controller port for user input.

And for those of you who are thinking we’ve seen the same thing before, we never get tired of seeing projects where a lot of hard work has obviously paid off!

Continue reading “8-Bit Video Game is Best of Retro Gaming on a Shoestring Budget”

Gameduino

Gameduino is an FPGA based sound and graphics adapter for microcontrollers. Laid out as an Arduino shield, all it really takes is a microcontroller with SPI and some code to send commands to the board which lets you toggle registers, handle memory, and drawing functions.

Once the data gets there, it is greeted by a Xilinx FPGA which puts out a 800×600 72Hz SVGA sync signal, large 512×512 pixel character scrolling backgrounds, piles of 16×16 (up to 256 color) sprites, each with per pixel transparency, rotation, flip, and if that was not enough a 12 bit frequency synth that can do 16 independent voices.

All the resources to make one of these is listed on the site under the Making a Gameduino link, but if youre interested in getting a made board there is also a kickstarter page available. There are other ways to squeeze video out of micro controllers from the basic like hackvision to AVGA or even Lucidscience AVR VGA v2, and tons of propeller projects, but this one being stand alone and portable, has a certain appeal.

Join us after the break for a quick video.

Continue reading “Gameduino”

Arduino Asteroids

[nootropic] has a new game out for hackvision, “Asteroids”! We covered the hackvision back when it first started appearing in October of 2010, and hardware wise it has not changed. It is still an Arduino (software) compatible system sporting a atmega328, video and audio out connections (uses the TV-out library), all on a nice printed circuit board that, with the buttons, resembles a game controller.

While its impressive enough to run arcade inspired games like space invaders, pong, and tetris while using Arduino and a library, Asteroids takes the game up a notch.

Features that make Asteroids well, Asteroids include a mod of the TV-out library so that bitmaps can fly over each other without erasing the pixels under them to give that old time vector arcade feel, and “point in polygon” style collision detection, which is a fantastic / efficient way of collision detection against irregular shapes, limited platform or not.

Last but not least, [nootropic] used the set_vbi_hook() function of the tv out library in sound design, going from simple “beeps” and “boops”, to “beeps” and “boops” on a constant 60Hz refresh (in the case of NTSC) that allows him to build more complex sound effects that give a nice arcade sound of explosions and laser blasts.

Join us after the break for a quick video, and remember, this is Arduino based so if you already have an Arduino, you can add the supporting hardware (buttons, resistors, and RCA jacks) and run any of the games currently offered, or make your own.

Continue reading “Arduino Asteroids”

Composite video with MSP430 chip

[NatureTM] used part of the Thanksgiving holiday to get composite video output working with an MSP430 microcontroller. He’s using one of the chips that came with the TI Launchpad, which is a big hardware limitation because of the relatively small code memory and RAM. The chip displays one still image at a resolution of 192×40 pixels. Still, this is a great way to learn about composite video signals, as a lot of other projects use a TVout library to save you the headaches. All you’ll need is a TI Launchpad, a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, two resistors, and an RCA jack. Dig through the code and see what a great job [NatureTM] did of offloading as much work onto the chip’s peripherals as possible.