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Forget Pyxis!


#1

As usual my absence from the forum means I’ve been up to something. ;D This time I’m taking on http://belogic.com/uzebox/index.asp with a hand-held NETMF game system. 8) http://skewworks.com/products/Game%20Slate

Unlike the Uzebox Game Slate will be able to play different games off an SD card instead of having to swap out ATMega chips or reflashing. In addition I’m creating a GUI environment to create the games code free! It has its own emulator and can run in 3 modes: GUI (which fully authors the game code for you), Barebones (where you code everything using the engine), and Hybrid (which allows you a combination of both). Several game types will be supported by the GUI and one is already complete: Classic Adventure.

To make things more interesting I’ve completely revamped http://www.skewworks.com with a new forum that allows uploading of images AND ZIP files, product reviews, commenting on blogs and linking your account with available downloads.

I’m hoping to run Game Slate on a custom system so there’s currently a donation drive going on: $35 or more gets you a free professional version of the GUI (engine and basic versions will be free).

I’ll update with videos and pictures soon, and as always I welcome feeback!


#2

Sweet!

Are you designing the hardware as well?


#3

The hardware will be based off either the EMX or ChipworkX module so little work will need to be done there. :slight_smile:

Right now I’m doing my best to get sufficient frame rates on the EMX. I’ve just changed some of the rendering code inside the engine and nearly doubled the render speed inside the emulator from 100FPS to 180FPS. If that directly translates to the EMX (which sits at ~11FPS) we should see ~20FPS; using just managed code.

For all my testing I have a little RPG app that does pathfinding and scrolling with an animated character. The second I can get it up to 30FPS+ on an EMX with a single animated sprite I’ll be happy to start making the GUI for designing RPGs.


#4

I have a check ready to buy one…will even give a bonus


#5

Sweet! Just for that you get a little demo vid. :smiley:


#6

Once again you are starting to build something fantastic!
You are really spending loads of hours making things work and I think a big bravo is something I should have said earlier! :clap:


#7

Thomas,

Have you looked at http://www.kickstarter.com/

It can be a good place to put your project on and get needed $ to make it happen.


#8

One thing I always wanted to do is test a physics engine and see how fast or slow it will run on these devices. You can make all kind of fun games very easily with physics engines.


#9

Btw, Gus

Did you see video of Savitch’s driver that shows some 3D goodness:

http://code.tinyclr.com/project/326/ks0108-glcd-driver-with-3d/

I really like it.


#10

I just did…very cool indeed! And fast too


#11

Great Work Thomas :slight_smile:

It could be “great” to have the same as the uzebox using FEZ board… I mean, have kind of homebrew console with fez Touch (for instance)

My dream would be :

A GHI Game board platform allowing us to develop game with microframework… (using maybe skewworks stuff for the graphic part)… with a “small price”…

by Small price, I mean a small .Net microframework card with :

1 USB Port
IO for connecting joystick
1 screen (with ability to choose which kind of screen to use) or RGB output (like the uzebox).

I’m not good at electronic, but having such a plateform form 60/80$ could/would be f*** great :slight_smile:

Cheers, Nicolas, Toulouse, France


#12

Thanks for the encouragement everyone! This is just the start and I’ve got plenty of goodness in store. :slight_smile:

@ Architect Yeah I know of KickStarter but I think I need a bit more done before I go to them. Ideally I’d like to have a prototype device running a game to show off.

@ sodit Obviously my intent is to keep things as simply & affordable as possible. With that comes a few things; the EMX module alone runs $84.95, unless I have 250+ orders waiting to be filled :wink: Then there’s the screen, board, etc.

The current plan for the device is as follows: EMX Module, 480x272 touch screen LCD, 1 five position thumb stick, 6 buttons, 1 SD card slot, 1 MP3 decoder, POSSIBLY ethernet and/or accelerometer. For that the prototype will run ~$301.75 (using a 480x272 LCD) or ~$251.75 (320x240). Both of those being without cases, ethernet or accelerometers.


#13

great plans.

No offense, but $300 compared to current portable game machine, I think, it’s too much…

Don’t we have the knowledge and the technology to make something like Sega megadrive with EMX or even with Panda ? (in terms of processor, megadrive was about 7 Mhz…) at a “cheap” price ?


#14

This is expected in the “hardware world”, where prototypes are too expensive but then production costs much less. I hope (and think) you will get enough interest to make a volume that will be priced reasonable while you still make some money for your work.


#15

A $300 production XBOX would cost thousands (millions?) to prototype the first samples :o


#16

Yes prototypes are always significantly more expensive than production models; keep that in mind. Also keep in mind the Fuzebox (which is what I’d be competing against) is $100 with no attached LCD and can’t swap games.

For the prototype the LCD makes up nearly half the cost at $149.90. And while I [italic]could[/italic] make it a TV console device I much prefer a portable game system. Something and end user can take out and show their friends the games they made.


#17

I’ve run the numbers on FEZ Panda II and I [italic]might[/italic] be able to squeeze enough out of the RAM to support 16color tiles while still leaving enough RAM for the engine.

Here’s the catches though:

  1. 16 index colors (instead of 565RGB)

  2. Much more limited map/inventory/etc space

  3. I haven’t even tested the max refresh rate yet but it would have to be RLP to get anything even slightly useful (Spiral could never get high enough framerates for games).


#18

You can add 64K external RAM to USBizi :wink: It won’t be used directly by NETMF but this is your “RLP heap” … not a bad idea.


#19

My only real question here is going to be refresh rate on that LCD. I need to run some tests when I get home and see the max refresh rate in RLP. I know it was slower when issuing commands at it for Spiral but if I had an RLP loop going it might speed things up enough to work; just won’t be sure until I see it.


#20

USBizi (the 144pin version) has built in parallel 8-bit interface left free by GHI specifically for this reason, external RAM. This means oyu can write/read RAM directly.

I mean

byte * p = RAM_ADDRESS;
*p = 5;

This gets better as you will connect the display the same way…writing a byte is couple 72Mhz ARM instruction = extremely fast!