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Uzebox homebrew game console

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Anyone familiar with the Uzebox?

 

It is a homebrew console based around an 8-bit microcontoller which takes care of everything.

 

Specs:

CPU: ATmega644 microcontroller

Total RAM: 4K

Program Memory: 64K

Speed: 28.61818Mhz (Overclocked)

Colors: 256 simultaneous colors arranged in a 3:3:2 color space (Red:3 bits, Green:3 bits, Blue: 2 bits)

Resolution: Up to 240x224 pixels (tiles-only and tiles-and-sprites modes)

Sprites: Up to 32 simultaneous sprites on screen at any time

Video output: NTSC Composite and S-Video

Sound: 4 channels wavetable, 8-bit mono, mixed at ~15Khz and output via PWM

Inputs: Two NES/SNES compatible joypad inputs

Options: MIDI-in interface and s-video output

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Looks pretty cool.. under $100 bucks for the whole kit. One of the parts is out of stock though.

 

Midi Sequencer built in sounds nice too. Make music right on it.

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did not know anyone here was using one cool :), I got one and am currently working on a clone of Atlantis for it.

 

cheers

 

carl

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Yes, an old topic, but after searching about Uzebox I discovered this as the only one talking about the entire system!! :-o

 

I'm new here, but have enough time to consider AA an incredible place, with a great active community of players, collectors, programmers etc.

 

I mean, look at all we have here! Homebrew games, hack games, atari pause kit, harmony cartidge, stelladaptor etc.

 

 

Perhaps I'm terrible wrong, but I consider Uzebox an excellent platform for retrogamers, progammers, hackers, whatever! IMHO Uzebox is the perfect case of a "modern retro game console". It's retro and modern in the good sense of it, community friendly, patent free...

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmbjgadImt8

Edited by Liduario

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BUMP!

 

Sorry for the epic bump. I couldn't find much other mention of this console anywhere. Maybe I arrived a little late (I discovered Atari for the first time 35 years late in 2012), but I stumbled across it last night while Googling, and it was an instant impulse buy for me. It's like the "Linux" of classic gaming systems! I personally enjoy doing electronics hobby projects, and I confess, I bought a crappy "TV Tennis" Pong clone kit at Radio Shack last year for $40! My favorite system of all time is the NES, and the Uzebox seems on par with it's capabilities. $50-something dollars isn't bad for a homebrew kit like this, and is certainly better than other kits available that cost more, such as gimmicky robot bugs, LED dice, or "practical joke" kits. The $20 Canadian shipping surcharge almost made me cancel, but after watching the videos posted online, I'm glad I checked out. While I am not a programmer by any means (my programming experience goes about as far as making crude text-based games on a TI-83 Plus in high school - don't laugh), I enjoy retro gaming and I have developed a very keen interest in homebrew games for the Atari VCS and NES. While the NES and VCS were wildly successful, there were dozens of "underdogs" in classic gaming that were not. The Uzebox comes preloaded with a 256Mb SD card (seriously, I didn't even realize they still made them that small) and there are well over 60+ excellent homebrew titles, most of them clones of existing games, but still the existing homebrew library alone easily trumps that of many of the "underdog" consoles many people here collect. Bear in mind also that on any given console from any era, maybe a quarter of the available titles at best are really worth playing for more than a few minutes, and you've got a solid cornucopia of great cloned games spanning all of the systems of the 8-bit era (and a few clones of 16-bit games too!). So, for an hour or so investment to solder the project together, I'll likely be getting a great little package full of TLC: games created for the love of the game rather than for financial gain. ;)

 

I'll be sure to post a followup sometime after I've played with it a bit...

Edited by stardust4ever
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Solder together only. Kits can be scarce as well as cases. No higher level language than C. Apparently they have no desire to grow their user base.

 

For my money, I'd rather get a similar system from XGameStation

http://www.xgamestat...oduct.php?id=46

I happen to enjoy soldering! Hmmm, I got mine for $54-something but I paid like $20 bucks shipping. Canadapost is expensive, but you also don't here about them going broke like USPS. Now it seems Uzebox is sold out at the Uzebox store but instead they are selling for $74.95 at Adafruit.com. Also, the XGameStation comes with a whole lot of crap including a dev kit you don't need if you just want it to play games, and it's almost twice as much. And the Uzebox seems to have better support from the homebrew development market (if you can even call it a "market") and uses a popular controller standard (NES/SNES), which makes me wonder: since the capabilities of both systems are basically similar (same CPU, same clock speed, same RAM and working memory; both support 256 colors and C programming language), I wonder how hard it is to port code from one console to the other?

 

It'll be just like the SNES and Genny wars all over again, Mua-ha-ha... :evil:

 

Funny thing about the Uzebox; it supports 64k of addressable memory (16-bits total address space) divided into 4k RAM and 60k ROM. Coincidence, I think not!

 

I'm just trying to decide what type of enclosure to get for it...

Edited by stardust4ever

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How is this better than a Raspberry Pi with the Chameleon distro?

http://www.geek.com/...rcade-20130118/

Raspberry Pi is marketed first as a cheap computer for open source software and education, second as a games console. It's cheaply made, but it's also one of those "charity" type systems (ie, a company sells you one at 2x cost and then ships one out to the third world to promote global education). Raspberry Pi is more of an open-source iPad than it is a dedicated game console. You can also game on a Linux machine as well. If I didn't care about gaming on genuine hardware, I would just get a PS2 controller and a USB adapter, sell all my retro game consoles, and just emulate on an old PC specifically set up for that purpose. I still think there's something special about inserting the cart. Even if the only "cart slot" on the Uzebox is the SD card, the fact remains that Uzebox is still running the games on a genuine 8-bit CPU. While I think a cart slot for individual games (with 64kb EPROMs on board) would have been nice, it would greatly increase the expense. As it stands the total asking price for the Uzebox is cheaper than most flash carts for popular retro systems. And as I said before, I don't mind assembling "kits." It makes a device more special to me knowing I actually had a hand creating it, even if I did 0% of the R&D necessary to produce it.

 

I haven't decided what I'm going to do for an enclosure yet. There are a wide variety of generic enclosures available, so I'll probably pick one that fits the board and then Dremel or drill out the plastic end plates to fit the data ports and controller plugs. I have seen pictures of cases specifically made for the Uzebox; one of them is for the EUzebox/SCART version, and the other case I saw online was for an older revision of the NTSC Uzebox (the old version placed the power plug on the edge next to the SD card slot; but a newer revision has the power plug on the opposite side and the SD slot has been moved closer to the edge, so the old case has the holes in the wrong spots).

 

A thought occurred to me after I read up more info regarding the Uzebox hardware: I first wondered that the clock speed seemed really high for the Uzebox capabilities (~28Mhz, 16x as fast as the NES and 24x the VCS speed), but then I read up on how the console works: Uzebox only has a single 8-bit processor which handles both the game logic, graphics, and audio. Audio and video modulation are produced solely by a sophisticated resistor network that acts as a simple DAC, so the processor has to continuously update a series of digital outputs in real time to drive the audio/video circuits. This is handled by the kernel, which is in a separate location in firmware from the game program. So logistically, the Uzebox has similarities with the Atari VCS. Like the VCS processor had to spend the bulk of it's time updating the display with every scanline (instead of every frame like later 8- and 16-bit tile based systems), but due to the fact that there's no discrete GPU to help with video generation, the Uzebox CPU has to update 8 separate digital output lines to create each pixel, and do this 256 times per scanline: that's "Racing the Beam" on steroids! CPU also has to generate the NTSC Hsync and Vblank signals all by itself too. But this is all handled in the Uzebox kernel, which leaves the remaining 60kb of memory free for game content and programming. Pretty clever!

Edited by stardust4ever

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Rise from your grave!

 

This Thing is still for sale, at least here in Germany. Do you guys still have it? Is there cool Software for it? It's an interesting concept to have a gaming platform that#s completely open. We've been Hearing a bit about simiar stuff, and I'm sure someone brought this up already in the Long discussions about other Systems, but I'd like to read a couple more words about this interesting looking console...

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Meh. It's still a kit you must solder together. The development tools haven't progressed enough. In the meantime the Rasperry Pi has become faster and more readily available. You can buy a quad core Android box for $40 dollars.

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To be honest I haven't touched mine in a while. Last time I checked there was still activity on the Uzebox forums, but my biggest gripe was there simply aren't enough games out. The fact that the entire game is flashed into ROM instead of a cartrdige bus means the thing isn't really expandable. If a game were to read off the cartridge bus, it would require a new kernel. I guess it would be possible to load pieces of the program piecewise from the SD card, kinda like changing sides of an FDS floppy, but that would incur a loading penalty instead of instantaneous like with cartridge bankswitching. Honestly I think the concept is great but the level of care that goes into some of the recent NES and especially Atari homebrew is phenomenal. Thanks for bumping this. I need to check out the Uzebox scene again... ;-)

 

Also what theloon said. I think the Raspberry Pi would significantly shrink the market for Uzebox. It's more expensive than the Pi but I do enjoy DIY solder kits. As long as there's not SMT work, I find it relaxing and rewarding to build a project and see it come to life. Really I imagine you could just emulate the Uzebox games on a Pi. In fact last I checked they had an official Uzebox PC emulator with full debug for development and gaming without purchase of a kit. Because the CPU is 100% documented, the PC emulator was flawless and bug free. You could also run custom kernels on the EMU which allowed for some nice enhancements not permitted with the stock Uzebox (For instance Pacman was updated with side marquee and a coin insert button but these extra features could not be crammed into 60kb for SD loading). While it's possible to flash a custom kernel game to the Uzebox via a set of optional headers (which itself requires a special programmer), this prevents the loading of games off the SD card. The bottom 4 kilobytes of ROM is write protected to prevent accidental corruption or erasure of the Uzebox kernel, which also contains the data to read the SD.

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So basically you guys saying the pi advanced and this is more a novelty than something to actually Play on?

 

IS there a good homebrew Scene on the pi? is anyone selling games for pi?

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So basically you guys saying the pi advanced and this is more a novelty than something to actually Play on?

 

IS there a good homebrew Scene on the pi? is anyone selling games for pi?

 

If you're looking for an alternative platform with a strong homebrew community that's probably the Pandora people. Besides a handheld I heard there is a Pandora compatible board out there.

 

I sold my Pandora because they utterly failed to keep their promise of TV out cables (so I could use it like a Desktop PC. Still, things look much better nowadays.

 

https://boards.openpandora.org/pyramain/main/

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Actually it seems that the Uzebox still gets a new game every Trimester ot so. I'll still Keep looking at it. Thanks for the Posts.

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