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Discussion of Game Dev Stuff

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Caught Up At Work

Caught Up At Work

Finally caught up at work. Returning to the redesign of the bluetooth/usb adapter. Luckily, David has been working on the redesign this whole time. Ordering the parts today for the breadboard prototype.   According to David, the chips in this design are significantly cheaper. I just need to rewrite the python code handling the gamepad/keyboard input to make it work with these new chips.    

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Evolving Design

Evolving Design

Just to show people we're still working on a cheaper redesign of the BT/USB adpater, I'm posting a render of a board that David has been developing while I'm dealing with my day-job duties.   You can see the old design on the left side of this board, and the newer design on the right.   Instead of the 1 x AD5242 digital pot chip and 4 x ADG715 digital switch chips of the previous design, the new design will use 1 x GPIO extender chip and 2 x Digital to Analog chips. With fewe

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Work.. it's always work.

Work.. it's always work.

After deciding on a new configuration for the USB/Bluetooth Adapter, I've been sidetracked by work. Specifically, I'm over a week behind on a paper I need to write, I'm way past the due date.   But I have severe writers block, and mostly I just stare at the computer screen for hours on end trying to type something, anything... and not having much success.   As such, I've had no free time to put into the redesign. Although, David and I talked about the new design a couple of w

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Wireless Controller Charger

Wireless Controller Charger

For a guy who hasn't even manufactured his PCBs yet, I have too many ideas.   Something like this will probably never come to fruition, but looking at my consoles, and my newly arrived INTV 2 I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if I could replace the broken controllers with a MrBoehm BT/USB adapter that also included a wireless controller charger? Something that has a case that is 3D printed to fit into the INTV controller bays?   Of course, you'd still need a power sup
Ordering PCBs

Ordering PCBs

Ordering PCBs is about as much fun as shooting yourself in the foot.   At least it is for two guys doing it for the first time.   David and I spent about 4 hours today trying to navigate the different PCB ordering websites to get quotes.   I'm biggest gripe, PCBWay wouldn't upload our Gerber files. We wasted about a half hour on that until we decided that since it was "under review" it didn't matter. In the meantime, we went on to a couple of other websites to get q
Origins of my New Profile Icon

Origins of my New Profile Icon

I have been a bit tired of my old profile icon, so I decided to update it with a photo of the pick guard that I have on my custom acoustic guitar.   I hired Bill Brunton, of Brunton Classical Guitars, to make a dreadnought for me. Bill also happens to be a member of my thesis committee and one of my Anthropology professors from back in the day. It's good to have a guitar made by one of your mentors.   There is a long backstory to this guitar, but I'll skip it for now.  
Controller Types

Controller Types

After doing some testing, and now understanding why I couldn't get my chatpad to work. I'm planning supporting the following devices on the MrBoehm. Or at least I will take a meaningful stab at all of these controller types. Atari VCS (BT and USB) Modern Controller - (sad, no chatpad support) Classic Controller - I will go the extra mile & beg/borrow/steal to make this one work, as it's the one most care about. Intellivision Amico Ami
Ok... I put a VCS on Pre-Order... Yeah, yeah, yeah...

Ok... I put a VCS on Pre-Order... Yeah, yeah, yeah...

I decided to put a VCS on pre-order.   I'm not really a big video game player. I play games with my kids, mostly Minecraft, but other things too. It's good family time. As such, I've put an Amico on pre-order as well.   For myself, I really liked Red Dead Redemption 2, and I sometimes play Rocksmith 2014. That's what XBox is for.   But I'm more of a tinker-er, and I don't play a lot of games. I won't elaborate exactly what I'm going to do the VCS, because it would b
Bluetooth/USB Adapter for Atari Consoles

Bluetooth/USB Adapter for Atari Consoles

It was brought to my attention today that I have been too technical when talking about the project I have been working on, and no one understands what it is supposed to do.   To clear it up, the project (MrBoehm) is a Bluetooth/USB Adapter for classic Atari consoles - 2600, 5200, 7800.   It's basically an adapter so that you can use modern Bluetooth and USB game controllers with your Atari. It has the ability to emulate common and rare Atari controller types.   It e
Making Some Changes to MrBoehm

Making Some Changes to MrBoehm

I think we'll be making some changes to the MrBoehm in order to support the INTV and ColecoVision.   Changes: There will be two versions of the MrBoehm 2 x port version and a 4 x port version 4 x port version will be made first. 4 x Port Version Will have a rechargeable USB battery Will have an On/Off switch Will not be backpowered from controller ports. It will suppor
Adding Colecovision Controller Support

Adding Colecovision Controller Support

Reading about the Amico system inspired me this week.   Looking at all the specs I could find, I think it's possible that I add support for not only the Intellivision controllers and ECS Keyboard, but also the Colecovision controller.   Based on this image of the Cvision controller, it looks like all the switches are in the Boehm, but I'll have to spread each Colecovision controller across to Boehm ports because there are so so so many diodes. https://i1.wp.com/www.retro
Adding Intellivision Controller Support

Adding Intellivision Controller Support

After getting some input from fdr4prez on the message boards and having him point me in the right direction, I am fairly confident I can also implement controller support for the original Intellivision and Intellivision 2 systems.   I used to have an INTV2, or more accurately, my brother did. After he lost interest in it, I eventually bought the ECS add-on for it.   Unfortunately, there is no power pin on the INTV controller ports, so if someone were to use the MrBoehm with a
MrBoehm - Adding Support for INTV ECS Keyboard

MrBoehm - Adding Support for INTV ECS Keyboard

Going back and looking at the old ECS Keyboard posts from 2012, I've decided that it would be possible to implement the INTV ECS Keyboard in MrBoehm.   I'll need to make a set of 4 x 15 pin to 2 x 9 pin conversion cables to make it work, but from what I can tell mapping the ECS Keyboard to the keypad chips across the 4 x MrBoehm ports shouldn't be too much of a problem. The shift key presents a minor problem, but I'll just map that to one of the a switches that would otherwise be used
Just Pre-Ordered an Intellivision Amico Glacier White

Just Pre-Ordered an Intellivision Amico Glacier White

Blog title says it all. I just pre-ordered an Intellivision Amico Glacier White.   Mostly because I'm looking for something I can play with both my 4yo and my 16yo.   ...but also, since it's controllers have Bluetooth support, I want to add the Amico controllers to the "supported" list of the MrBhoem.   However, I'm sad that I'll have to wait until Oct to get them. But that'll still be sooner than my VCS game controller pre-order... (yes, I only pre-ordered the VCS
Hypothetical Controller Completed

Hypothetical Controller Completed

I finished the prototype of my Hypothetical Controller. I posted  about it in the programming forums if you want to read about it. H-Controller Forum Post   Basically it works. It has 4-way directional control using the Port pot capacitors, four fire buttons and a Rumble Feature.   There is a video of it in action in the forum post.
H. Controller - Working - Mostly

H. Controller - Working - Mostly

Well, the Hypothetical Controller seems to be working, except for the rumble feature.   Looks like to implement rumble a transistor will be a required add-on for the breadboard prototype, thought I don't think it'll be necessary for the MrBoehm software implementation.   See video of the H. Controller in action. Also see attached code. My kernel isn't the best, but the code is enough to show pot directional control in action.   2000_0204_233245_002.MP4hypotheti
 

Hypothetical Controller - Initial Test

Tonight I wrote some code and tested it on my Harmony Cart for my Hypothetical Controller concept, which will be implemented as a controller option for the Mr.Boehm.   Below is a photo of my breadboard prototype. The fire buttons (Pins 6, 3, 2, 1 connected to ground through push button switches) worked just fine interfacing with the Harmony Cart GUI, which is not surprising. While I haven't implemented them yet in my Test Rom, I doubt it will be much of an issue.  
 

Mr. Boehm - PCB Design Complete

David finally completed the path layout for the Mr. Boehm PCB. Attached is a PDF, PNG, and 3D render in PNG version of it.   He has also completed a set of Gerber files ready to be sent to a manufacturer.   PCBWay gave him a quote of $85 for five PCB's with all parts soldered to the board, which I don't think is too bad. $17 per PCB for only ordering 5, I think is pretty reasonable.   However, before we send them off to be manufactured, I'm going to post several des
 

3D Rendering of MrBoehm Prototype

David is getting closer to working out the wiring on the MrBoehm. It's probably a little bit bigger than a standard breadboard. Waiting for David to send me the actual dimensions.   See attached for a rendered prototype.
 

MrBoehm - Updated Schmatic

David is still working on layout out the PCB, but in the meantime he sent me an updated MrBoehm Schematic. This version supports up to two 2600/7800 controller ports and up to four 5200 controller ports. Schematic_MrBoehm_Wiring_2020-07-02.pdf
 

MrBoehm - Fast Boot OS for Raspberry Pi Zero

Just got off the phone with an Operating System expert consultant I hired through UpWork.   For Mr. Boehm to really be usable, the OS for the Pi Zero will require a static file system and boot in under 8 seconds, with an ideal boot time of less than 2 seconds... in order to power the Mr. Boehm environment  off the Atari joystick ports.   Short version of our conversation, is that the consultant thinks it could be done based on Raspberry Pi blog posts he's read such as: h
 

Diagram for Mr Boehm

David and I got together tonight to work out the general diagram for the MrBoehm hat for the RPi. Attached you will find the pin/chip/gpio connections. He's now working out a schematic that we'll send off to a printer.   At some point we're going to ask for feedback from the Atari Age community. Probably after he finishes the full schematic for all four controllers. mrboehm.pdf
 

Medieval Mayhem - 2600 Love

Well... I'm using my 7800 for this demo, but... it's a 2600 cart... so... same thing right?   Attached is a video of me testing 4 player Paddle support with 2 x Xbox One S controllers (via Bluetooth) and 2 x Logitech Dual Action controllers (via USB). Once I have the chips for two more ports, I'll be able to test these controllers with Castle Crisis on my 4 port 5200.   Those with a keen eye might notice me tapping the "xbox start" button toward the beginning of the video. Th
 

Castle Crisis - 5200 Love

Well, I have the basics of my MrBoehm (Named after my middle school science teacher) game controller working. It now supports the basics of 2600, 5200, and 7800  game controllers. Still alot of optimization that needs to be done yet.   Discovered that my 5200 and my 7800 are not working optimally. Some bad port action, but they are good enough for now. Probably will need some repairs at some point.   Attached is some Castle Crisis 5200 love. 5200love.mp4
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