Author Topic: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.  (Read 3575 times)

Offline the_antithesis

So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« on: July 12, 2015, 01:52:49 PM »


The Uze Box a retro gaming console DIY kit. Good thing I've been practicing my soldering on the cat.





So, this is an introduction to the wild, wild, world of microcontrollers, since that's what it's based upon. Here's specs for the geeks:


    CPU: ATmega644 microcontroller
    Total RAM: 4K
    Program Memory: 64K
    Speed: 28.61818 MHz (Overclocked)
    Colors: 256 colors arranged in a 3:3:2 color space (Red:3 bits, Green:3 bits, Blue: 2 bits)
    Video output: NTSC Composite and S-Video
    Sound: 8-bit mono, mixed at ~15 kHz and output via PWM
    Inputs: Two NES/SNES compatible joypad inputs
    External storage: SD/MicroSD
    Options: MIDI-in interface

The output is sort of on the level of the NES, judging from the pictures and videos.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da3OIHtX8d8[/youtube]

I got into electronics with the idea of making my own game console, so it's nice that there's a kit available on the market. For seventy bucks (about $100 for necessary cables and shipping, I guess) I can get my feet wet.

There is another one called the XGameStation, which is kind of a misnomer since there are a few different models, although the XGS Pico appears to be the current one. This is available in a massive kit for $230 which includes

    (1) Hardcopy of "The Black Art of Video Game Console Design", including CD.
    (2) Course CD-ROM with 12 lessons, audio, video clips, and more.
    (3) XGameStation Pico Edition Kit 2.0 including CD and complete assembly instructions.
    (4) Additional Lesson Plan Kit components including ICs and passive devices.
    (5) Digital Multimeter.
    (6) Power Adapter - 9VDC.
    (7) Parallax SX-Key Programmer (USB version).
    (8) Mini-USB Cable (for SX-Key Programmer).
    (9) Nintendo Compatible Controller.
    (10) 6FT A/V Cable.
    (11) Entry level soldering iron (plus solder) to solder together the PCB version of the XGS Pico Edition.

That's a lot of shit. Pretty much all the necessary shit plus a book ($65 value) and a 12-step study course, which is probably shit since it's only 12 steps. But the fucking thing comes with soldering iron, solder and a digital multimeter. Holy fucking shit.

So, why am I still more attracted to the Uzebox? Yeah, the price is cheaper. Actually, the XGS Pico is about the same price. But the Pico seems to be closer to the Atari 2600 level. It even uses Atary joysticks. But there don't seem to be many games for it. Uzebox comes with an SD card loaded with games and there's a small but touchy community of people making more games for it. Searching for such on the XGS hasn't turned up much on it. I guess I'm thinking I can get some "uze" out of the Uzebox while the XGS will require me to make my own games because there's not as much available.

Another nice thing is the Uzebox has an emulator so I can test programs on that before putting them in the actual hardware.

Biggest problem, Uzebox is currently sold out, which is the problem with these kinds of hobbyist kits. I guess a revision of the PCB is in the works, so I can wait. That the XGS is readily available may actually be a strike against it.

At the end of the day, I'll see about getting the Uzebox and maybe pick up that guy's book on console design. I mean, I already have a multimeter. It's not digital, but shut up.

Offline SGOS

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 02:08:39 PM »
Sounds like the guy that wrote the 12-step course was in Alcoholics Anonymous.   :biggrin:

So are these consoles specific to either PS3 or Xbox, or do they run all the programs?

Offline the_antithesis

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2015, 02:15:12 PM »
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So are these consoles specific to either PS3 or Xbox, or do they run all the programs?

They run their own programs. They are based on microcontrollers rather than microprocessors. I'm sure there's a difference although I'm not sure what.

These are more suitable for retro gaming enthusiats. The Uzebox appears to have NES-level graphics and power, for instance. Here's a video showing some of the games.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_d2hWXyykI[/youtube]

Offline SGOS

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2015, 02:28:00 PM »
The short demo of "Frogger" reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld.

This will keep you busy for awhile.  Sounds like a good wintertime project.  That's when I spend time designing extra scenery for Flight Simulator.

Offline Solitary

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 05:16:56 PM »
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline trdsf

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 10:46:13 PM »
Ooo.  Uzebox is tempting.

I've been a bad boy on eBay all week (that fountain pen collection isn't going to collect itself!!), so I need to not look at things I might want to buy.
"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." -- Barbara Jordan

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 06:53:53 AM »
Gonna do it.

We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline the_antithesis

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 01:56:18 PM »
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Ooo.  Uzebox is tempting.

I know, right?

Know what it is? Uzebox has games. XGameStation may be a nice system, but I can find nothing about the games available for it. Even DIY game console soldering kits are sold on their content.

Offline kilodelta

Re: So I'm thinking of getting one of these.
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2015, 11:09:40 PM »
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I'm getting this Vulcan.

Faith: pretending to know things you don't know

 

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