Gamebuino Backpack ideas

Development

DFX2KX

2 weeks ago

Ah yes, it has been quite a while since I've posted on here. The new site looks really nice by the way! Even if they layout took me a bit of time to get used to.

I posted a few technical questions to Rodot about the particular hardware of the META because I immediately saw potential in the 'backpack' system over the two I2C ports the classic has, because we get all of the ports of the Zero despite having a screen and 8 buttons. I know it's your 'Special Sauce' Rodot, but I'd LOVE to know how you managed to do that.

I have a few more detailed questions so I can get an idea of what sort of things might be workable:
Does the bootloader include functions to detecting when a backpack/shield is installed? I ask because it'd be nice to have a single version of the game for people who have my backpack on their META, and those who do not. otherwise, it could be a menu option. Though having that turned on with the wrong backpack in could be... bad.

What's the LCD controller you used? And do you think it'd be feasible for me write a library allowing a game to drive a second one?

And how large is the image buffer/where is that stored?

First idea (video out/larger LCD):
This was the reason I bought the Deluxe version. I saw that backpack, and the first thing I thought was 'If I've got all of the pins, I could send the screen buffer to a separate controller running a bigger LCD!'. I loved the original Gamebuino, but I ended up using Myndale's amazing emulator/dev tool to play games because the 5110 screen is so small and dim. The LCD aught to help my awful eyes a bit (well, the eye that works anyway :P) but it'd be even nicer to hook it up to a 5" LCD or use a an AV jack to my TV.

Second Idea (FPGA/Microcontroller 3D acceleration):
A few months ago, I was watching a Youtube Documentery about Argonaut Software and their work on the SuperFX chip. After reading up how it works (it's really clever actually), I had the notion of either a) using an actual SuperFX chip as a video accelerator for an Arduino b) using an FPGA to do something similar. Provided the first option is even feasible, I'd almost certainly try to make this work, too.

Third idea (extra buttons): Either one of these backpacks would probably come with enough extra gripping space for an extra button or two. Aside from the small screen, it's one of the few things I'd change about both the orginal and the Meta. there's certainly enough space behind the META for a WiFi or Bluetooth module, too.

Sorry for the ramblings, I wrote all of this down while pouring over the Zero's schematics to get a handle on how it works.

jicehel

NEW 2 weeks ago

Yes Rodot said me that adding a wifi module on the Backpack will be possible but you'll have to do it by yourself. (He can correct if i deform the truth by misunderstanding). You"re true when you say it's could be cool to add a plug for a external screen (TV, monitor or LCD).

Else adding others buttons or sensors is the goal of the backback so it should not be a problem to do it.

Rodot

NEW 2 weeks ago

Ah yes, it has been quite a while since I've posted on here. The new site looks really nice by the way! Even if they layout took me a bit of time to get used to. 

What felt wrong ? You can share your experience on this topic, we a continuously improving the website.

Does the bootloader include functions to detecting when a backpack/shield is installed?

We have not yet defined a standardized way to detect the backpack attached, but there are several options. It goes from just setting few pins high and low to adding a small SPI ROM storing the backpack ID. We'll make a standard along the way when doing more backpacks! It's not bootloader-related though.

What's the LCD controller you used? And do you think it'd be feasible for me write a library allowing a game to drive a second one?

It's a ST7735, you can easily add more screens of any nature, just like you'd do on an arduino (please make an E-paper back).

And how large is the image buffer/where is that stored?

You can set several screen settings. Remember your have 32KB of RAM available.

80x64 RGB565 (default) = 80x64x2 = 10KB

80x64 INDEX16 = 80x64/2 = 2.5KB

160x128 INDEX16 = 160x128/2 = 10KB

You can make custom screen buffer for partial refresh or whatever you want. Maximum flexibility.

First idea (video out/larger LCD):

You could sniff the SPI port like Myndale did with the first Gamebuino, and output some video signal :)

Second Idea (FPGA/Microcontroller 3D acceleration):

To be honest... that wasn't unexpected. Curious to see what you come up with.

Third idea (extra buttons):

You could easily add shoulder buttons and analog stick ;)

DFX2KX

NEW 2 weeks ago

What felt wrong ? You can share your experience on this topic, we a continuously improving the website.


It didn't feel wrong, per se, just different. I'm used to the more traditional forum/subforum layout (like the old site), whereas this one shows all of the topics and then you click the filter at the top. It's nice and perfectly usable, just not something I've seen used before in my internet travels, so it took me a few minutes to realize I could click on those colored boxes at the top to filter the list of topics.


It's a ST7735, you can easily add more screens of any nature, just like you'd do on an arduino (please make an E-paper back).

That one seems to be quite common for smaller LCDs, and is extremely well documented too given what I've found in a few minutes of looking. Out of curiosity, are you using SPI or the paralell interface with the ST7735? (8080 interface seems intriguing to me, because from what I can tell, it's quite fast compared to SPI, and is used by a whole bunch of different controllers).

And an E-paper screen... Huh! hadn't thought about those. Given how well text works on those, that'd be an intresting take on the term 'Interactive Fiction'.

To be honest... that wasn't unexpected. Curious to see what you come up with.

I got inspired by Myndale making perspective work on the original. And, well, naturally Discreet Graphics is the next logical step :P That being said, even a math co-processor opens up all sorts of doors.

DFX2KX

NEW 2 weeks ago

@Jicehel That's the main reason I got the Deluxe version. Well, the wood finish is a bonus (I'm going to have ot make a seperate shell so I don't scratch that one too much I think XD)

If wifi where a part of a backpack, it'd theoretically be possible to download new games for your META from the internet, too. which is an interesting thought.

ripper121

NEW 2 weeks ago

Wifi should be easy to do with ESP8266 or ESP32 (also with BLE)

DFX2KX

2 weeks ago

BLE? Bluetooth? Huh, that's a thought, too. That brings up a few other intresting possibilities, such as using the META as a wireless gamepad too. hmmmmm..

DFX2KX

NEW 2 weeks ago

ripper121 ripper121

BLE? Bluetooth? Huh, that's a thought, too. That brings up a few other intresting possibilities, such as using the META as a wireless gamepad too. hmmmmm..

Rodot

2 weeks ago

You can use it as a wired gamepad already with keyboard and mouse emulation :)

jicehel

NEW 2 weeks ago

Yes or any other remote control (robot, home automation system or other systems)

ripper121

NEW 2 weeks ago

With the ESP also Multiplayer would be possible, Local or via Internet :)

Maybe we can setup a Game Server for this, or we stay wit p2p.


As soon as I have the Meta in my hand, I can develope the Wifi module for it.

I also plan to sell diy or ready to use modules, if enough people like to have one.

Maybe @Rodot can send me some Meta earlier that I can develop it sooner.

DFX2KX

NEW 2 weeks ago

I'm going to focus on getting a handle on the hardware first, and porting/improving some of my half-done Classic projects, then I'll tackle the question of expansions.

I don't know if I'll be able to make anything that I can offer to anyone else, because the complexity of large-scale hardware assembly is beyond me.

Rodot

2 weeks ago

That's why I'm here, we do the industrialization and logistics :P

Rodot

NEW 2 weeks ago

DFX2KX DFX2KX

You can use it as a wired gamepad already with keyboard and mouse emulation :)

DFX2KX

2 weeks ago

wait, you can emulate input through the USB? oh neat! you couldn't do that with the classic! (at least that I know of.) Very nice. And indeed, Rodot. I'm willing to bet some folks will have to tap upon your expertise in that area.

Rodot

NEW 2 weeks ago

DFX2KX DFX2KX

That's why I'm here, we do the industrialization and logistics :P

DFX2KX

NEW 2 weeks ago

Rodot Rodot

wait, you can emulate input through the USB? oh neat! you couldn't do that with the classic! (at least that I know of.) Very nice. And indeed, Rodot. I'm willing to bet some folks will have to tap upon your expertise in that area.

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