Air Hockey Table Embraces DOOM, Retro Gaming

[Chris Downing] recently finished up a major project that spanned some two years and used nearly every skill he possessed. The result? A smart air hockey table with retro-gaming roots. Does it play DOOM? It sure (kind of) does!

Two of the most striking features are the score board (with LCD screen and sound) and the play surface which is densely-populated with RGB LED lighting and capable of some pretty neat tricks. Together, they combine to deliver a few different modes of play, including a DOOM mode.

The first play mode is straight air hockey with automated score tracking and the usual horns and buzzers celebrating goals. The LED array within the table lights up to create the appearance and patterns of a typical hockey rink.

DOOM hockey mode casts one player as Demons and the other as the Doom Slayer, and the LED array comes to life to create a play surface of flickering flames. Screams indicate goals (either Demon screams or Slayer screams, depending on who scores!)

In retrogaming emulation mode, the tabletop mirrors the screen.

Since the whole thing is driven by a Raspberry Pi, the table is given a bit of gaming flexibility with Emulation Mode. This mode allows playing emulated retro games on the scoreboard screen, and as a super neat feature, the screen display is mirrored on the tabletop’s LED array. [Chris] asserts that the effect is imperfect, but to us it looks at least as legible as DOOM on 7-segment displays.

This project is a great example of how complex things can get when one combines so many different types of materials and fabrication methods into a single whole. The blog post has a lot of great photos and details, but check out the video (embedded below) for a demonstration of everything in action. Continue reading “Air Hockey Table Embraces DOOM, Retro Gaming”

Raspberry Pi Does Its Best Retro PC Impression

The Raspberry Pi is a popular choice if you’re looking to put together a simple emulation box — it’s relatively cheap, small enough to tuck into pretty much any entertainment center, and benefits from a large and vibrant development community. You can even get enclosures that will dress the Linux single-board computer up like a miniature version of your favorite retro console. But what about the old school PC gamers who want to relive their glory days in a palm-sized package?

Well, if you’ve got a 3D printer, [fantasticmrdavid] might have just the solution for you. This second iteration of his printable Raspberry Pi enclosure is designed to look like the 286 desktop that he had in his youth, complete with a functional “floppy drive” in the front that takes an SD card. With a 3.5 inch MPI3508 LCD up in the “monitor” and a copy of DOSBox on the SD card, you’re well on your way to booting up a copy of Windows 3.11 or building some contraptions in The Incredible Machine.

While the external aesthetics of the design are impeccable, we appreciate that [fantasticmrdavid] didn’t skimp on the internals. There’s mount points for dual 25 mm fans to keep the more powerful variants of the Raspberry Pi cool, and a speaker expansion board that plugs into the GPIO header to provide era-appropriate bloops and bleeps. The tiny details here really shine, like the fact that the face plates for the dual drives are designed as separate pieces so they can be printed in a different color than the main case.

If you’re not interested in the classics, don’t worry. We’ve seen the Raspberry Pi stand in foraa modern gaming PC, complete with the RGB LEDs you’d expect in a contemporary rig.

A Mysterious 6502 Apple 2 Simulator

Nice, visual simulators of CPUs such as the 6502 are usually made much later and with more modern tooling than what they simulate. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if a simulator runs on the very hardware it’s simulating?

This is what [Tea Leaves] stumbled upon when he found a mysterious disk with only “APL6502.SIM” on it. [Tea Leaves] demonstrates the simulator with a basic 6502 assembly program, revealing an animated, beautiful Apple 2 simulator that actually runs on the Apple 2! The simulator shows all the major components of a 6502 and actually animates the complete data flow of an instruction.

But why is this mysterious? It’s mysterious because – a “hello” program aside – it’s the only thing on the disk! Not so much as a single clue as to where it came from. [Tea Leaves] finds out where it comes from, including incorrectly copied disk images and a revelation at the end.

Video after the break.
Continue reading “A Mysterious 6502 Apple 2 Simulator”

A Turing-Complete CPU In Sunvox? Why Not!

Day-time software engineer and part-time musician, [Logickin,] knows a thing or two about programming the SunVox modular synthesiser and tracker software. Whilst the software is normally used for creating music and sound effects, they decided to really push it, and create the VOXCOM-1610, a functional turing-complete CPU inside SunVox, just for fun.

For those who haven’t come across SunVox before now, this software is a highly programmable visual environment for building up custom synthesisers, piecing signals together to create rhythms — that’s the ‘tracker’ bit — as well as interfacing to input devices such as MIDI and many others. It does look like a lot of fun, but just like CPUs created in Minecraft, just because, this seems to be the first time someone has built one inside this particular music app. The VOXCOM 1610 is a fully functional 10 Hz, 16-bit computer. It boasts 2KB of ROM, 256 bytes of RAM (expandable to 128 KB), and 8 general registers for data exchange between components. If you don’t fancy manually poking bits into the ROM to enter your software, then you’re in luck as [Logickin] has provided an assembler (in Java) that should ease the process a lot. The ABI will look very familiar to anyone who’s ever touched assembler before, although as you’d expect, it is quite light on addressing modes.

Now, all that is needed is for someone to port Doom to this and we’ll have it all. We think that is unlikely to happen. For those who pay attention, we did see one neat SunVox project in the past, which is certainly eye-catching as well as eardrum-bursting.

Thanks to [elbien] for the tip!

DOOM On IPhone OS, On Android

So you want to play some games from the early days of 32-bit iPhone OS that no longer run on recent OS versions? [Hikari-no-yume] wrote a sweet high-level emulator, touchHLE, to do so on modern iOS phones. But maybe you don’t have an iPhone? [Ciciplusplus] has your back. He ported the iPhone OS emulator, written in Rust, to Android, and then ported a version of DOOM that runs on iPhone OS to go with it.

[Ciciplusplus] also made a video (embedded below) where he documented the trials and tribulations of porting Rust code to the Android platform – an intensely Java environment. It doesn’t sound like it was at all trivial. Of course, this couldn’t have been accomplished without [Hikari-no-yume]’s original work on touchHLE, which was made essentially to fulfill [Hikari-no-yume]’s long-time obsession with the game Super Monkey Ball.

So for now, touchHLE can boast the ability to run a few old 32-bit games on Android and desktop operating systems. What other games from the first years of gaming on smart phones (and iPods) do you need to see ported? Get involved in the project if you’ve got an itch you need scratched.

Continue reading DOOM On IPhone OS, On Android”

Minecraft In Minecraft On The CHUNGUS II

Minecraft is a simple video game. Well, it’s a simple video game that also has within it the ability to create all of the logic components that you’d need to build a computer. And building CPUs in Minecraft is by now a long-standing tradition.

Enter CHUNGUS II. The Computational Humongous Unconventional Number and Graphics Unit by [Sammyuri] is the biggest and baddest Minecraft computer that we’ve ever seen. So big, in fact, that it was finally reasonable to think about porting a stripped-down version of Minecraft to the computer itself. Yes, that’s right, Minecraft running in Minecraft. (Video embedded below.) Writing the compiler and programming the game brought two more hackers to the party, [Uwerta] and [StackDoubleFlow], and quite honestly, we’re amazed that a team as small as three people pulled this off.

Anyway, once you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, also check out [Sammyuri]’s video on just the CHUNGUS II computer itself. (Also embedded below.) Seeing the architecture is interesting, even if you don’t speak Redstone as fluently as our heroes here. We love that the assembler creates a block of ROM – out of Minecraft blocks – that you can then cut/paste into the game’s reality.

For a “simple” game about breaking blocks and punching trees, Minecraft has inspired hackers to make the game better both inside and outside of the real world. For instance, for the latest in performant open-source Minecraft servers, check out Folia. Maybe, one day, they’ll build CHUNGUS II in the real world. It could happen.

Thanks [dbcdr] for the tip!

Continue reading “Minecraft In Minecraft On The CHUNGUS II”

PC Classics, Right In Your Browser With EmuOS

[Emupedia]’s work to preserve computer history by way of making classic and abandoned games and software as accessible as possible is being done in a handy way: right in your browser with EmuOS.

A few moments of BIOS startup kicks off EmuOS right in a browser window.

Doing things this way has powerful “Just Works” energy. Visit that link in a modern browser and in no time at all you’ll be looking at a Windows 95 (or Windows 98, or Windows ME) desktop, filled with a ton of shortcuts to pre-installed and ready-to-run classic software. Heck, you can even keep it simple and be playing the original Microsoft Solitaire in no time flat. There is also a whole ton of DOS software waiting to be fired up, just double-click the DOSBox icon, and browse a huge list. The project is still in development, so not everything works, but the stuff that does is awfully slick.

Here’s some additional background that goes into more detail about the project and its capabilities, but if you’d prefer to just click around to explore, here’s the main link again (and here’s a list of mirrors.)

If OS emulation is your thing, don’t miss emulating the IBM PC on an ESP32 microcontroller. And if you’re more into lesser-known vintage operating systems, how about re-inventing PalmOS to run on x86 architecture?