Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The new TOME GS is here!

Yes its been a while. A long while but the day has finally arrived. I have finally got around to building my new system and I am already considering changing chips :). But for now let me introduce you to the greatness(or lack thereof) of the new Tome Game System. I actually built two systems, the first one as a test of the pic32 micro, its development software and programming tools. After designing a simple version of the game system, building the board and connecting it to the programmer it connected on the first try. It took me a while to get the display working correctly. I don't have an oscilloscope to test the pins for correct timing so its trial and error. Eventually the display showed some garbage so I knew I was on the right track. I finally was able to initialize the display correctly and draw to it. Once this was working I ran into a few problems with the build that gave me the itch to build the more advanced prototype. This system consists of a PIC32MX220, nokia 6610 lcd, 128kb external sram, 2MB flash chip. This microcontroller only has 32kb flash and 8kb ram which was not enough for what I plan to do. I ordered a PIC32MX150 which has 128kb flash and 32kb ram which would have worked better but I wasn't paying attention and ordered the wrong ic package. That mistake made me just pull the trigger and build a new one with a better microcontroller.

Here are a few pics of the build process:

The next post will detail the system that I will be using for development. It's already done so no three year hiatus :). People keep asking me how to build a game system so I might fix the few issues and use this simple one as a example in a video series if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3D Demo - Final redesign choices

This is a small 3d demo I've slapped together. It's unoptimized, it uses direct sin/cos calls, float point math and the lines are overdrawn twice. I plan to switch to fixed point for math and model representation. Poly filling, textures and lighting are on the menu when I get around to it.

I have ordered some pic32 chips and will build a simple board to test out some features. If all goes well I will be switching to the pic32 for the redesign. The micro I have my eye on is also a 64pin chip. It operates at 80mhz(1.56 dmips), has 512KB of flash and 128KB of ram. Its more powerfull and requires fewer components. I keep changing things around but this time I will stick with the choices I make and build the final device. Also I may switch from pwm audio to a stereo dac and I have found a cheap source for bluetooth modules and will be switching back for this device and my other projects.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Platformer Demo and Mandelbrot Generation

Its been a while. Other projects get in the way and untill I have the money to build the new system I put this on the back burner. I am currently working on a 2d game for the xbox 360 indie games. I thought it would be sweet to port it to my own game system as it progressed. This is the first working platforming demo of my game ported over to the TGS. Simple movement, collisions and gravity are working. The second part of the demo is a mandelbrot image being drawn. No real reason for doing this, just thought it looked nice. Ive also been working on a 3d engine for the TGS and will post the 3d wireframe demo in a day or two.

Sorry about the crappy image quality... damn you ebay!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Small update

I have found a source for the s65 lcd and have decided to keep this lcd rather than change to the 6610. I will be using a regular size sd rather than the mini, I will be removing the eeprom and adding four 32k 20mhz serial ram chips. The extra ram will relieve some strain and any system settings can be stored in flash. I know there will be a performance hit but it is better than having to parse the sd card constantly. Also I will be using a 1200mah 4th gen ipod battery. The current 850mah battery gets around 4-5 hours of life with 100% backlight.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

GUI pics

Here are two quick shots of the gui I am developing for the TGS. Pressing left or right moves between them though no sub menu's yet. The Tome Media Player might use this interface.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Webcam Troubles

My webcam went and died on me so It will be a week or two before I can post any new videos. Since the new unit will be using the nokia 6610 lcd I have to rewrite some of the display code and change a few of the icons the gui uses. Tomorrow I will post a few shots of the current gui interface.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tome GS Specs

A few people have asked about the specs of the current and planned devices. Later I will put project info and progress on the sidebar.

Current Device Specs:

cpu: at91sam7s256
speed: 55mhz
ram: 64k
flash: 256k
storage: minisd(4gb maybe HC) and 32kb eeprom
display: siemens s65 16bit color lcd
communication: bluetooth, usb, serial
audio: sterio using two pwm channels
power: 850mah li-ion battery, 500mah charger

New Device Specs:

cpu: at91sam7s256
speed: 55mhz
ram: 64k
flash: 512k
storage: minisd(4gb maybe HC) and 32kb eeprom
display: nokia 6610 12bit color lcd, adjustable backlight using pwm
communication: zigbee(MRF24J40MA), usb, serial, jtag(allow debug)
audio: sterio using two pwm channels, 3.5mm headphone, internal speaker
power: 850mah li-ion battery, 500mah charger

I might add a small expansion port with analog, digital and power pins.

The best thing about my design is that you don't have to reprogram the device every time you want to play a new game since they can be dynamically loaded from the minisd and execute in ram. The firmware will handle all the dirty work while and provide a simple interface to the hardware. The zigbee module can be used to communicate with other TGS's or other project utilizing zigbee communication. For example I'm building a quadruped robot and plan to control and monitor it with this device.