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Gameduino: a game adapter for microcontrollersΒΆ

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Tiny microcontrollers like the Atmel AVR used in the Arduino are now much more powerful than the 8-bit computers from the 1980s. So why not use them to play video games?

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Note

You can now buy a Gameduino from us or from a distributor.

Latest:

The next generation - Gameduino 2 - is now running as a project on Kickstarter.

Gameduino 2: this time it’s personal October 2013

If you have questions, email me at jamesb@excamera.com

Gameduino is a game adapter for Arduino - or anything else with an SPI interface - built as a single shield that stacks up on top of the Arduino and has plugs for a VGA monitor and stereo speakers.

The sound and graphics are definitely old-school, but thanks to the latest FPGA technology, the sprite capabilities are a step above those in machines from the past.

  • video output is 400x300 pixels in 512 colors
  • all color processed internally at 15-bit precision
  • compatible with any standard VGA monitor (800x600 @ 72Hz)
  • background graphics
    • 512x512 pixel character background
    • 256 characters, each with independent 4 color palette
    • pixel-smooth X-Y wraparound scroll
  • foreground graphics
    • each sprite is 16x16 pixels with per-pixel transparency
    • each sprite can use 256, 16 or 4 colors
    • four-way rotate and flip
    • 96 sprites per scan-line, 1536 texels per line
    • pixel-perfect sprite collision detection
  • audio output is a stereo 12-bit frequency synthesizer
  • 64 independent voices 10-8000 Hz
  • per-voice sine wave or white noise
  • sample playback channel

The adapter is controlled via SPI read/write operations, and looks to the CPU like a 32Kbyte RAM. (Unlike many 8-bit machines, there are no restrictions on when you can access this RAM). There is a handy reference poster showing how the whole system works, and a set of sample programs and library.

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Gameduino is open-source hardware (BSD license) and all its code is GPL licensed.

Logo design by iLKke.

Last modified $Date: 2011-07-31 15:23:57 -0700 (Sun, 31 Jul 2011) $