Star Wars themed MAME cabinet is perfect in this basement bar

star-wars-themed-mame-cabinet

Fans of the Star Wars series will immediately recognize these illuminated vertical bars as a piece of the style from the original movie. They decorate the MAME cabinet recently installed in this home bar. You’ve got to admit, it looks amazing. But we’re always on the prowl for the build log and this annotated 46 image set has no shortage of goodies.

The project started off as a very ordinary looking plywood frame. But it takes shape quickly as the rounded-over grills were added to the box. Holes were cut behind them to accept the acrylic that serves as a diffuser and to allow the LEDs to shine through from the inside. There are several shelves which will be used to store additional gaming systems in the future. For now all that’s inside is a pretty beefy computer that runs the emulators, allowing games to be played via the arcade buttons or using wireless Xbox controllers.

Make sure you get all the way to the end of the build images. We were delighted by the custom icons in the arcade buttons. Instead of the common player one and player two images there are silhouettes of Star Wars characters and objects. This attention to detail really makes the build something special!

[Thanks Jason]

Web-based TI graphing calculator emulator

jstified_ti-graphing-calculator-emulator

You can leave the TI graphing calculator at home thanks to this web-based TI-83 and TI-84 emulator. As with pretty much all emulators, this depends on a ROM image from the actual hardware to work. But if you have one of the supported calculators (TI-83+, TI-83+ SE, TI-84+, or TI-84+SE) you can dump the image yourself and this should work like a charm.

[Christopher Mitchell] calls the project jsTIfied because he wrote it in JavaScript and HTML5 (that’s where the js comes from) and it’s based on the Texas Instruments line of hardware (hence the capital TI). After agreeing that you’re not getting any ROMs from his site you can choose the file to load on your browser. The image of the calculator has working buttons and will show the boot screen just like the real thing. You can use it like normal but you can load load up programs for the environment. See this demonstrated after the break.

We’ve seen some arguments online about the price of the TI line over the years. Prices haven’t dropped much over the decades even though they’re making pretty much the same hardware. It’s cool to see someone figure out how to emulate the hardware — and on a web interface to boot! But we’re left wondering why TI isn’t selling an equivalent app for iOS and Android or at least leveraging what must be millions in each production run for a lower retail price?

[Read more...]

SNES emulator has it’s slot sealed shut

If you look closely you’ll notice there’s nowhere to put the game cartridge on this Super Nintendo system. That’s because this is a Rasberry Pi based SNES emulator that plays ROMs, not cartridges. Since the RPi board is used the only limit to what you can play is the board’s RAM and which ROMs you have on the SD card.

The case has basically been gutted and the unused cartridge slot was sealed with some Bondo before painting. In addition to the Rasberry Pi you’ll find a 7-port powered USB hub and a Teensy microcontroller board. The hub allows for the controllers to be connected via USB. The Teensy is recognized as a USB HID device and is used to connect the reset button to a functions on the emulator program. The power switch still works too. To make this happen [MIDItheKID] spliced a USB connector and a microB USB connector to the power switch. We think this draws power from the hub but we’re not 100% sure.

[MIDItheKID] mentions in the Reddit comments that he’s thinking of grabbing that new RPi that has more memory and doing some similar work on his dead PSX.

GD-ROM drive emulated to use SD cards instead

This board is the prototype which [Deunan] has been working on in order to use an SD card in place of a GD-ROM drive. The idea is to fully implement the hardware protocol used by a GD-ROM drive so that it can be completely replaced. The end goal is to do away with the optical drive on a Dreamcast game console.

As these game systems age, the optical drive is the most likely part to fail first as it involves moving parts and a lens that may degrade over time (we’re basing that assumption on our experience with DVD-ROM and RW). This may sound like a way to play pirated games, but [Deunan] makes it clear in his question and answer post that the firmware for his prototype is written to only play proper disc images and will probably not play the rips which are found in the darker recesses of the interwebs.

He’s been at this for quite a while. Here’s an earlier project he did that uses an FPGA board for the hardware.

[Thanks Walt]

Emulators 101: how to write a program that functions like an NES CPU

We’d bet everyone reading this article has played a game on an emulator at some time or another. And you may have a base idea of how those emulators work. But we’d wager the vast majority of you are clueless about the actual implementation of game emulators (we know we are). But that has all changed after seeing this demonstration of how [Bisqwit] wrote his own NES emulator. The description doesn’t cover anything more than the basics of writing code that emulates the NES CPU hardware itself. But it’s presented in such a way that makes it quite easy to understand for anyone who has a basic knowledge of programming. He starts with a switch statement for handling the processor’s opcodes and then moves through piece by piece showing how he refined his code to make it work while keeping it readable. We think this is a great teaching method and appreciate the time he put into producing this tutorial.

The explanation starts about 4:22 into the video which is embedded after the break. You’ll also find the first two demo videos there. Those involve mostly fast-motion text editing of the emulator coding process with some gameplay tests at the end of the second video.

[Read more...]

PlayStation gaming on a NOOK Simple Touch

Improvements in processing power really hit home when you see an eBook reader playing PlayStation games. Sure, we’re talking about a system which launched more than 15 years ago (the original PlayStation launched way back in 1995), but this is a $99 device which seems to be playing the games at full speed!

[Sean] wrote in to share the project with us. After rooting the device he installed System 7 (aka Mac OS 7) using Mini vMac for Android. He uses Free PlayStation Emulator (FPSE) to run the games. There is an Android version which provides the touch-screen controls you see above. We figured the graphics would be awful, but the video after the break proves us wrong. Other than being in black and white we think the graphics are fantastic. Just one hack was necessary to make this happen. [Sean] uses NoRefresh to keep the Nook from refreshing the screen which is what causes the film-negative type of flashing after several page turns.

[Read more...]

Interfacing SNES controllers with your Raspberry Pi

This lovely set of wires lets [Florian] connect stock Super Nintendo controllers to his Raspberry Pi. The IDC connector in the upper left plugs into the GPIO header on the RPi rather than going the route of using an intermediary USB converter.

The setup lets you connect two controllers at once, so you’ll have no trouble going head-to-head on Mario Kart as seen in the clip after the break. The ports themselves were pulled from a pair of SNES extension cables. Since button signals are pushed to the console via a shift register there’s just five wires needed for each (voltage, ground, data, clock, and latch). As far was we know the Raspberry Pi pins are not 5V tolerant so you probably want to add some level conversion to this circuit if you build it yourself.

[Florian] wrote a C program which shifts in data from the controllers and converts it to HID keyboard inputs. This should make it extremely flexible when it comes to emulator setup, and using the technique for different styles of controllers should also be pretty easy.

[Read more...]

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