Modifying A SNES Rom To Be Widescreen

Turning a game like Super Mario World for SNES into a widescreen game is not a small task, but [Vitor Vilela] accomplished just that. [Vitor] has a long list of incredible patches such as optimizing code for better frame rates and adding code to take advantage of the SA-1 accelerator chip, so out of anyone he has the know-how to pull a widescreen mod off. This patch represents a true labor of love as many levels were designed with a specific screen width in mind. [Vitor] went through each of these single-screen width levels and expanded them by writing the extra assembly needed.

On a technical level, this hack was achieved by using the panning feature built into the game. The left and right shoulder buttons allowed a player to pan the camera to the left and right. The viewport is considered to be two times the screen resolution and so items will be rendered within the widescreen resolution. By taking away the panning feature and render a larger section of the viewport to the screen, you get a widescreen view. However, to save cycles, enemies and items don’t start moving until they get close to the screen edge. So how do you make a game widescreen without ruining the timing of every enemy that spawns? Suddenly the hours of muscle memory that fans have drilled in over the years is a disadvantage rather than a strength. The answer is a significant time investment and an eye for detail.

All the code is available on GitHub. A video of a playthrough of the mod is after the break.

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Stay Focused With This Distraction Free Cyberdeck

While on the surface they might seem like little more than cosplay accessories, there are perfectly valid and practical reasons for building a custom cyberdeck. For one thing, a hand-built deck is going to be easier to upgrade and modify down the line. A bespoke rig can also be made to fit your exacting specifications, with each and every design choice made specifically to support your personal style and workflow.

For [Conrad Barski], that meant a computer that would stay out of his way and allow him to take notes and write code while keeping distractions to the absolute minimum. All he wanted in his dream machine was a nice mechanical keyboard, a widescreen display, and enough battery power to go mobile should the need arise. Anything else would be gilding the lily. For those who want to distill personal computing down to its simplest form, this build is really the high water mark.

[Conrad] is currently in the early stages of turning his Lisperati1000 into a kit others can build for themselves, so details are a bit sparse at the moment. But we do know there’s a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a Vortex Core 40% keyboard, and 4,400 mAh worth of battery power wrapped up in that slick 3D printed enclosure. Readers may recognize the 1920×480 ultra-wide LCD from the modernized TRS-80 Model 100 we covered recently, or perhaps the gorgeously reimagined retro terminals of [Oriol Ferrer Mesià]. If you’ve got retro-futurism on the brain, this seems to be the display to beat.

Whether you want to explore vintage computing, stylishly take control of your custom race car, or cruise the airwaves with an integrated software defined radio, a completely custom portable computing device can make for an interesting alternative to another ho-hum laptop from the Big Box electronics store.

New Part Day: Really, Really Wide Screens

Once again my inbox runneth over with press releases, Kickstarter announcements, unsolicited emails, and a bunch of product announcements. Most of these, of course, are never to be seen again. Once in a great while – statistically insignificant, really – there’s a product announcement that’s just interesting enough to take a closer look at. This time, it’s a really, really wide screen.

LCDs are curious beasts when it comes to display interfaces. Back in the bad old days of gigantic tube TVs, the aspect ratio of these displays was fairly limited. You could get a 4:3 display, and with the rare exception of o-scopes, vector displays, and other weird devices, that was it. Since then we’ve moved to LCDs, a promising technology if you want a display in the shape of a car dashboard, or as a thin strip to put on some rackmount modules. It took this long for a sliver of an LCD to appear.

This display produced by EarthLCD is a 10.4 inch display, about ten inches wide and one inch tall. The resolution is 1024 by 100. It is, by far, the skinniest LCD ever produced. The closest you’re going to get to a display with this kind of aspect ratio are old character LCDs, and even then you’re not going to address individual pixels.

If you’re struggling to figure out what this would be used for, this product makes it somewhat obvious. It’s a 1U rack with a beautiful 1024×100 display embedded in the front. You’ve never seen a server that cool.

Interestingly, the 1U display is driven by a single Raspberry Pi, and looking at the datasheet for the display (PDF) tells you pretty much everything. The display is driven by a regular old parallel interface, with six bits of color for R, G, and B. That means it can be driven with a Raspberry Pi without an adapter board, a BeagleBone, or even smaller ARM micros with the obvious reduction in color depth.

While the display isn’t a game changer or something that will knock your socks off, it is, interesting and something that could find its way into some interesting projects. If you have any idea what those projects would be, drop a note in the comments.

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