DIY Racing Sim shift box

diy_pc_racing_shiftbox

Ask anyone who has ever owned a car with a manual gearbox – in real life and in video games, nothing beats stick shift. Rather than shell out gobs of money to purchase a pre-made shift box, forum member [nikescar] built his own for about $20.

Using some scrap wood and a plastic cutting board, he went to work building a prototype. The “H” shift pattern was designed in CAD and laid over the cutting board, which was hand-cut with a Dremel. Using some tips found online, he constructed a simple shifting mechanism, then wired in a cheap USB game pad found on Ebay. Using safety pins as temporary micro switches, he ran a few laps, and was quite happy with the results. Once the switches arrived, they were fitted to the shift box and it was off to the races.

[nikescar] reports that the shifter works extremely well, allowing him to row through the gears with the greatest of ease, sans any fear of breaking things. Keep reading to get a better look at the shift box internals.

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AVGA: The AVR based video game platform

avrvideogame

We’ve seen our fair share of AVR projects, but this one’s pretty cool. AVGA is a color video game development platform based on the Atmel AVR family of microcontrollers. As seen in the picture above, one of the AVRs that the project uses is the popular ATMega168. There were several technical hurdles to using the AVRs to run color video games; one of the most difficult problems was figuring out a way to display detailed graphics from AVRs limited onboard RAM. Eventually, the developers figured out a way to display detailed graphics using a TILE-based driver. The TILE driver works by dividing the screen into X and Y coordinates, dividing the graphics into tiles. Then, when a graphic is needed it’s addressed from a reference table that’s stored in the AVR’s onboard RAM, allowing the bitmap graphic to be loaded from a game’s ROM. Currently, the only games available for the platform are a Super Mario clone, a Pacman clone, and a Snake clone. While there are only a few games available, the platform definitely looks promising. If anything, this project serves as a great example for what off the shelf microcontrollers are capable of.

Atari 2600 Slim

chriskoopa_2222 (Custom)

[Chris-Koopa] sent in this sweet little throwback to the good ol days of Atari 2600. He had been playing his old unit, lamenting the poor visual quality on his new TV when he had an idea. He picked up an Atari flashback2 and began modding. He added a cartridge slot and made some case modifications to make it look more like the 2600. The final result is that he can switch between the built in games, or play strait off of the cartridges with crisp clean video. There are other methods of doing this, like modding the Atari itself or building a whole new console, but this is pretty sweet too.

VR Game Gun

Many of you have probably experimented with alternative gaming interfaces. Here’s a well done little hack where they created a gun with a display mounted on it, for video gaming.  At a glance you can probably figure out exactly what they’ve done. They’ve attached a gyration mouse to the gun for tracking and gutted a keyboard for the buttons.  We have to give them some credit, they seem to have packaged it all nicely. Since it’s a standard mouse and keyboard, it just plugs in and works with any game.  As you can see in their version, the screen works very well in this configuration, almost seeming like a giant scope. You can see the wireless version and hear their aspirations for projector based models after the break.

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