gameport--the 8-bit emubox

Discussion in 'PSP - Hacking & Homebrew' started by reaperman@home, Jun 11, 2007.

Jun 11, 2007
  1. reaperman@home
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    Member reaperman@home GBAtemp Regular

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    just thought I'd drop a post in here about an upcomming handheld called Gameport.

    it's a handheld designed to emulate other systems with hardware rather than software. using a field programmable gate array it configures itself on the fly to be whatever processor it's emulating. the prototype currently runs 4 of the most ancient 8-bit systems, but claims *all* 8-bit systems are likely possible and limited 16-bit potential too. kind of like the idea behind the commodore one.

    progress on other systems seems rapid as just a couple weeks ago it only handled 2 systems. This system is still in the very early stages of development.

    see a few seconds of the prototype in action in the last segment ('ben heck') here.

    price is aimed at $50-75, roms/disk images stored on SD. Built in TV out. Battery life should be staggering since it's downclocking itself to the 1-5 mhz range.
    initial mockup case design, already being totally redone:
    [​IMG]
     


  2. BoneMonkey

    Banned BoneMonkey The cheese stash is a lie.

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    very nice !

    what systems ?
     
  3. Glacius0

    Member Glacius0 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Aside from the idea sounding kinda cool, how is this better than getting a GBA or newer handheld and running a bunch of emu's? At least with emu's you get save state support...though of course they might have that in this machine as well. And which 8-bit systems are we talking about? NES, SMS...and then?

    If it's $50 and very small I might be interested.
     
  4. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I have seen FPGAs do some fantastic things and can well understand them working as a clone of a processor I sense 1-5Mhz is not going to do much damage especially in the 16bit console arena.
    Guess I will have to wait and see.
     
  5. Insinion

    Member Insinion GBAtemp Regular

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    I want it [​IMG]
     
  6. reaperman@home
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    Member reaperman@home GBAtemp Regular

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    if that divider is correct, that should put its 'native mode' just under 30 mhz. I think the big problem with the 16-bit era is system complexity instead of clock speed. But that's a guess. It's also a pure guess as to what it's actually capable of. Slowing itself down from 30 mhz with a clock divider is one thing, but I wonder how much speed can be pushed through her.

    edit: looks like they're talking max speeds of 8 times system clock. source
     
  7. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I understand a "clone" of a chip drops the specs needed no end versus emulation (be it an interpreter or a model of the chip) but most consoles have co processors and seperate oft. complicated audio chips.

    I guess it is just that I have seen FPGAs talked up far too much even in the relatively short time I have been playing with electronics of this grade.
     
  8. reaperman@home
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    Member reaperman@home GBAtemp Regular

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    just thought I'd add today's gameport info update.
    These are answers to direct questions on the gameport forum.


     
  9. Darkforce

    Former Staff Darkforce DERP!

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    This is a totally awesome project, and if the team can really produce this for $75 I would buy one in a heartbeat.

    Hopefully the new clamshell design will be a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the piece of poo the old design was. Also the d-pad and buttons on the original design look terrible so I hope they're improved on somewhat in the new design. But hey if not I'll just crack open a SNES pad and mod the buttons. Infact the Gameport would make for some very good mods.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. OrR

    Member OrR Rice-megatron Expert

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    This sounds like an insane idea. If it works, I'm on board. [​IMG]
     
  11. Mewgia

    Member Mewgia drifter

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    Sounds good, but...
    No genesis? D:
     
  12. reaperman@home
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    Member reaperman@home GBAtemp Regular

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    new case mockup is out.

    [​IMG]

    control size/shape has not been finalized yet, but that will almost certainly not be a correct representation.
     
  13. Darkforce

    Former Staff Darkforce DERP!

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    Can't believe this thread is so empty! This project is just pure awesomeness!

    In short, the updates:

    - Case redesign (see above post). Not finalised. According to Ben Heck roughly the size of an Altoids tin (which is L93mm x W58MM x H21mm apparently) or a tiny bit larger than a Game & Watch.

    - Will have shoulder buttons.

    - Includes a memory card, and includes the cores for the emulators. Size not stated. Max size will be 2GB.

    - Now takes 4x AAA batteries instead of inbuilt rechargeable battery. Trying to get this down to 2x AAA.

    - The on/off button has been removed, the unit turns on when opened, and then goes into low power standby for a while when it's closed before turning it off.

    - Will display full game names and be able to use cheat codes (might have been something else mentioned also but can't find the relevent post again >_>)


    Can't wait for this to be released, but might be a while though as it sounds like they've just had to redesign the boards for the new case.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. JohnDrake

    Banned JohnDrake Banned

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    I'm really excited about this project. I'm a handheld gaming fanatic. If this thing works out I'm a guaranteed sale.

    I do have one question. Why focus only on 8-bit emulation? IMO, that's their biggest mistake. I already have a number of portables that can run most 8-Bit systems flawlessly. I really want a portable that emulates 16-Bit and MAME perfectly. To me that would be the ideal emulation portable.

    Still even with this small complaint, I'm behind this project 100%. I will buy one mainly because I'm a gadget freak and a portable gaming junkie. This is something I just have to try for myself.

    Also I love the Game & Watch inspired case design.
     
  15. James Kudo

    Member James Kudo GBAtemp Regular

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    Any idea on when this is supposed to come out? [​IMG]
     
  16. gov78

    Member gov78 Ha made you Look

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    looks cool wouldnt mind having it to play Super Mario 1,2,3 and metriod
     
  17. Icarus

    Member Icarus fire walk with me

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    I don't understand why people overhype this. Yeah sure, it can play all the 8-bit titles, but can't GP2X[or whatever it's called] or PSP already do that? Even DS can emulate NES near perfect. If it's going to cost 75 bucks, it better comes with some nice features like real time saving and such.
     
  18. Darkforce

    Former Staff Darkforce DERP!

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    It's just a cost thing I think, anywho the GamePort will be able to handle SNES games but not Megadrive (Genesis) games apparently, though they say with some tweaking it may be possible. MAME (well arcade titles) is also a consideration according to the mod on the forums, however obviously the machine will be limited in which titles it will be able to run.

    filozof - Well the main the reason I'm looking forward to this device is the modability - It's very cheap and would make for some great projects. For example you could house the gameport inside a console shell and wire up the control pads, power switches, mains supply, video out ports etc... and have a fully functional console with it's entire libary of games on an SD card. The only other way to do something like this would be to build a mini-itx pc inside a console shell and emulate the games/systems which would be a lot more expensive.
     
  19. reaperman@home
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    Member reaperman@home GBAtemp Regular

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    The primary draw to gameport is that it uses an FPGA for hardware based emulation, rather than clumsy software emulation. The end product should be an emulator that looks and feels exactly like the original. Rather than overclocking a gp2x to get a bunch of buggy emulators to work, the idea of this system is that it downclocks itself to match the original hardware and configures the FPGA to match it identically, or very closely. Granted on some of the more complex systems, software emulation will probably still need to be used (when it pushes into 16-bit range), but generally there will be increased playtime as this system will be idling along downclocked to 1-4mhz.

    If you like the emulation on PSP or gp2x, enjoy them. I have trouble tolerating their quality, as I'm a bit of a snob.
    I've only found one system on gameport's prospective system compatibility list that has emulation I find decent in gp2x--that's atari800, and even it has some compatibility issues that I don't think gameport will have to deal with. on top of the emulation issues, gp2x and psp both have ergonomic issues to some degree, which also cut playability. (I do have hope for the new PSP, but doubt they'll fix their d-pad)

    This is the first game system to come to market which is set up for this type of emulation. If it works, the 10+ years of software based emulation might find out that it's on that it's been evolving down an inferior path. It currently does 4 systems, and all of them appear to have better emulation than gp2x (granted they are very basic systems). Progress is being made on the 8-bit computer cores last I heard.

    it's first core was atari 2600, a notoriously difficult system to emulate with software, and it does very well playing every game that the original hardware supported. here's some video of the old prototype on 2600.. one 2600 demo was found not to work with gameport, but upon trying it on real hardware the same problems were present.
     
  20. Dead Ghost

    Member Dead Ghost GBAtemp Regular

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    This is so cool. When will it be out? [​IMG]
     

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