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.

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555 Video Game

[Thrashbarg] is back up to some 555 timer madness again, this time with his sort of dodge ball video game. Featuring twenty three 555 timers, op amps (the LM324) and atari paddles slightly modded so the pots act as voltage dividers.

Output is on a monochrome composite tv signal, and the game plays like a dodge ball game where the object is to avoid the ball and take out the other player. You can also launch your own ball and deflect the oncoming attack. When hit the defeated player disappears from the screen for 3 seconds and then another round starts.

On a personal note this project hits close to home, as the project I had planned was a 555 based pong game, and just days before the deadline all I have is a wobbly sync generator, so seeing something close to what I had imagined, and working, makes me smile and feel a little better about my mental status.

Check out a short video after the break, and [Thrashbarg's] previous 555 project, The Synthanola.

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Pactuator: Mechanical Pac-Man Frame

As a proof of concept for his long term work in progress “The Pac-Machina” (an electro-mechanical reimagining of a Pac-Man cabinet), [Jonathan] needed some way to make a mechanical Pac-Man, flappy jaw and all. After working through a couple different design possibilities, he decided on an interesting setup which includes using a cog with only half its teeth to make the mouth open and close. Unfortunately, NAMCO BANDAI has asked him nicely not to sell these as kits, but he has helpfully included just about all that is required to make one of these from scratch. [Jonathan] even cut and laser etched his own faux-Victorian frame to keep his proof of concept Pac-Man ready until needed for the main project.

Quiz-o-Tron 3000

Who would have known that being given the task of planning a holiday party at a wine bar would turn into a hacking project? Well, here’s how that happened. A committee was in charge of the festivities and had decided on doing a mock game show. It wouldn’t really feel like a game show unless you had a contestant lockout system where the first one to hit the button gets a light and a sound while the runners-up get nothing. This is where [RoysterBot] comes in. He built the Quiz-o-Tron from 4 “easy buttons” from staples and an Arduino. After having finished it, he found the system to be somewhat lacking in the excitement area. When a button was pressed it only lit an indicator on the main Quiz-o-Tron box. He decided to add a small circuit inside each of the Easy Buttons using a 555 timer and some LEDs to give them some better feedback. Apparently he was going to patch into the speaker as well, but didn’t have time to get that added.

[via Adafruit]

MeggyCade: when handheld pixel gaming isn’t enough

[Bomber Punk] built his own arcade cabinet, but you won’t find any MAME games here. He made the enclosure to house a Meggy Jr. 8×8 pixel graphics game console. Proper coin-op buttons and a joystick replace the stock tactile switches that come with the kit. [Bomber Punk] has also added a lighted coin slot. A three-cell battery pack powers the beast, with a programming port to one side so that different games can be loaded from a PC. We’d like to see a processor upgrade that would allow multiple games to be stored on a stand-alone system.

Take a look at the video after the break, it’ll bring a smile to your face.

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Playing hacker with a toy vault

[Thomas Cannon] created his own hacking game by adding some circuitry to this toy vault. The original toy uses the keypad to control a solenoid keeping the door shut. He kept the mechanical setup, but replaced the original circuit board with his own ATmega328 based internals. He also added a USB port to the front. The gist of the game is that you plug-in through USB to gain access to the vault’s terminal software. If you can make your way through the various levels of admin access the loot inside will be yours.

Dungeon crawler game for IM-ME (and Linux)

[Joby Taffey] takes the prize for the first completed homebrew game for the IM-ME. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen [Travis Goodspeed] working with sprite graphics, and [Emmanuel Roussel] developing game music for the pink pager. But [Joby] didn’t really use either of those.

[Travis'] sprites were using a framebuffer that fills up a lot of valuable RAM. [Joby] decided to draw the room screens (all of them have been stitched together for the image above) as a one-time background image to keep the memory free. From there, the screen is updated in 8×8 blocks based on cursor movement. He also decided not to add music as he feels the high-pitched piezo is not capable making sound without driving everyone crazy.

Source code is available and for those of you who don’t own this pretty handheld, the game can also be compiled in Linux.