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anoon

Developing Games for VCS? (Unreal Engine)

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Just got my hands on a VCS. Been combing through these forums a bit and doing a lot of (not very fruitful) googling for info on developing for the device. I am using Unreal Engine.
I signed up for the dev program late last week, but haven't heard back yet.

A few questions:


Atari says "Any Atari VCS device can be a development kit." Thus far, I haven't come across any info regarding putting the machine into a developer mode under which one could install their builds into a sandboxed Launcher UI of the AtariOS.
Does a developer mode or similar exist?

 

As a test, I have packaged one of the default Unreal Engine template projects on PC for Linux using the engine's cross compiling features. I can run it on the device by booting into Ubuntu off of another USB stick.
In the absence of a developer mode, is Ubuntu the best/closest/most accurate Linux distro to run on?

Based on the info I've come across thus far, it doesn't seem like there is a way to install an OS directly to the onboard storage.
Is booting from a USB stick how devs are creating games for the device thus far?

As a test, I have packaged one of the default Unreal Engine template projects on PC for Linux using the engine's cross compiling features. I can manually copy this to a USB stick, copy it to the instance of Ubuntu running off of another USB stick, but this is very time consuming and I am not sure this provides the best indication of performance on the device. I am working on getting UE's Project Manager to be able to deploy direct to the machine, but have hit a few roadblocks.
Any other Unreal VCS devs out there? How are you deploying efficiently?

General: I thought saw mention of an Atari Discord that is disseminating information.
Anyone have a link to VCS specific or official Discord servers?

General: with just a small nudge or tug on the cord, my VCS loses power.
Has anyone found the power supply to be flakey?
 

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Atari has stated that you can make games in Unity for direct submission and store approval.  They also have been working with Unreal to develop compatibility with their engine.  I am not currently programming anything so any other information I have is minimal on this subject.

 

As for the Discord server, there is a VCS Founders discord but it is not open invitation for just anyone.  As a founder, I received a special code to get in.

 

The power supply connection on mine seems fairly robust.  Are you sure you plugged it in all the way?  I have two kids and they sometimes will use the controllers plugged in to the USB ports.  You know how kids will tug on things and stretch cords across a room.  They will even trip over cords and move the unit occasionally.  I have never had a power loss issue.

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On 6/6/2021 at 4:56 AM, anoon said:

Just got my hands on a VCS. Been combing through these forums a bit and doing a lot of (not very fruitful) googling for info on developing for the device. I am using Unreal Engine.
I signed up for the dev program late last week, but haven't heard back yet.

A few questions:


Atari says "Any Atari VCS device can be a development kit." Thus far, I haven't come across any info regarding putting the machine into a developer mode under which one could install their builds into a sandboxed Launcher UI of the AtariOS.
1. Does a developer mode or similar exist?

 

As a test, I have packaged one of the default Unreal Engine template projects on PC for Linux using the engine's cross compiling features. I can run it on the device by booting into Ubuntu off of another USB stick.
2. In the absence of a developer mode, is Ubuntu the best/closest/most accurate Linux distro to run on?

Based on the info I've come across thus far, it doesn't seem like there is a way to install an OS directly to the onboard storage.
3. Is booting from a USB stick how devs are creating games for the device thus far?

As a test, I have packaged one of the default Unreal Engine template projects on PC for Linux using the engine's cross compiling features. I can manually copy this to a USB stick, copy it to the instance of Ubuntu running off of another USB stick, but this is very time consuming and I am not sure this provides the best indication of performance on the device. I am working on getting UE's Project Manager to be able to deploy direct to the machine, but have hit a few roadblocks.
4. Any other Unreal VCS devs out there? How are you deploying efficiently?

General: I thought saw mention of an Atari Discord that is disseminating information.
5. Anyone have a link to VCS specific or official Discord servers?

General: with just a small nudge or tug on the cord, my VCS loses power.
6. Has anyone found the power supply to be flakey?
 

I took the liberty of adding numbers to the text I quoted above, so I can answer more easily. 🙂
I do know from other developers that Atari is slow in responding to developer sign-up requests,
and that's because they're a very small team. They're focused #1 on the coming s/w features.

1. There is a developer version of the software, but every VCS has the same hardware. The
    difference is only software, apparently, so yes, any VCS can be a developer console, easily.
    There is rumour that there will be another "app" along the line to run homebrew games too.

2. Yes, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS would be compatible, but remove all unnecessary services, like the VCS.
    I use Ubuntu this way as a hobbyist, just tinkering with some code, but I'd love to do more too.
    I use 512GB SATA SSD, in a USB 3.1 enclosure. Performance is great, and I use secure-boot.

3. It is possible to overwrite the VCS system software, as it's just an eMMC, but not a good idea,
   as you would not get system updates to the BIOS, controller updates, or have access to AtariOS.
   Games are developed on another system, and pushed over to the VCS for testing, then to Atari.
   Jani (Utopos) developers with Unity on a Mac, and pushes over to VCS. See the video at the end.

4. The only Unreal developer I know of, is a hobby developer, who was working on "PitFOOL VCS",
    but he got the Classic joystick spinner working in his demo. I personally never used Unreal yet.

5. There is currently not a general Discord server, only a Founders one for the early-access period.
   There have been a couple of Discord servers setup by fans, at intervals, but a lot of the owners
   to-date do not seem to be Discord users, so not much attention, and always problem with trolls.

6. No problems at all with the PSU. I do not have a 2nd, but wanted to use my VCS in 2 places,
    so I also have a generic universal laptop PSU for location#2, and one connector worked fine.
    Of course, I was very careful to check the specs, the polarity, and so forth, before I did so...
There is a developer thread, here.


This is a good introduction, I suppose.

 

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On 6/6/2021 at 4:56 AM, anoon said:

General: with just a small nudge or tug on the cord, my VCS loses power.
Has anyone found the power supply to be flakey?

Hello,

My two power supplies work, but seems to be of very average quality (hot box, sign of poor quality components)

By chance I got two others compatibles power supplies from my Asus FX504 laptop that work eatch.

Asus PN A15-120P1A

IMG_20210607_222428.thumb.jpg.8b61f67f9dcf556933ab84ff8bb6825e.jpg

 

By chance the connector used by Atari is common to many PC power supplies.

You will find without difficulty I think a replacement power supply if needed.

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Thanks for the responses.

@justclaws:

2. Yes, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS would be compatible, but remove all unnecessary services, like the VCS.
I am new to Linux. Any pointers on how to pare it down to the essentials?

3. It is possible to overwrite the VCS system software, as it's just an eMMC, but not a good idea
I should have been more clear: I guess what I am looking for is a way to install another OS side by side with the Atari OS, so I can easily choose between the two for development. Based on what I have now read, that doesn't seem to be the case. I'd settle for an external drive with a switch on it: flip it on to autoboot into ubuntu, flip it off to boot into Atari OS.

4. The only Unreal developer I know of, is a hobby developer, who was working on "PitFOOL VCS", but he got the Classic joystick spinner working in his demo.
I did come across those posts since I originally created the thread. I believe he wasn't deploying to the hardware, and instead running off of his Mac/PC. I imagine he got the Atari stick working using the RawInput plugin in Unreal. Cool, though! At least I am not totally alone here.

Not much more work from me on VCS dev at this point. Looking forward to tinkering on the weekend.

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5 hours ago, anoon said:

Thanks for the responses.

@justclaws:

2. Yes, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS would be compatible, but remove all unnecessary services, like the VCS.
I am new to Linux. Any pointers on how to pare it down to the essentials?

3. It is possible to overwrite the VCS system software, as it's just an eMMC, but not a good idea
I should have been more clear: I guess what I am looking for is a way to install another OS side by side with the Atari OS, so I can easily choose between the two for development. Based on what I have now read, that doesn't seem to be the case. I'd settle for an external drive with a switch on it: flip it on to autoboot into ubuntu, flip it off to boot into Atari OS.

4. The only Unreal developer I know of, is a hobby developer, who was working on "PitFOOL VCS", but he got the Classic joystick spinner working in his demo.
I did come across those posts since I originally created the thread. I believe he wasn't deploying to the hardware, and instead running off of his Mac/PC. I imagine he got the Atari stick working using the RawInput plugin in Unreal. Cool, though! At least I am not totally alone here.

Not much more work from me on VCS dev at this point. Looking forward to tinkering on the weekend.

2. I'd suggest doing a barebones install, from Ubuntu installer. Then add packages you require, like openssh-server,
    for remote connection. Things like Samba for Windows file-sharing, office  and media packages, games, all omitted.
    I made a list of default installed packages on AtariOS, so I support I should create a document and post that here.

3. If you install Ubuntu on an external disk, you can boot to it at startup, either with F10 (to get the boot-menu)
    or pressing <ESC> and then choosing Boot menu in the BIOS, and then choosing your Ubuntu disk from there.
    Ubuntu installs with support for Secure-UEFI, during install, if you say yes to that option, but does not auto-boot,
    unless you make further adjustments, so for me, that's an ideal situation. Default AtariOS, option for Ubuntu any time.
    Although AtariOS isn't based on Ubuntu, but Apertis Linux, which is itself a derivative of Debian, Ubuntu is close enough,
    and the important thing is that Ubuntu has a good set of additional tools, lots of support, forums, and is most popular.
   
4. Yeah, I've no knowledge of Unreal, but knowing who has done it already, or that it HAS been done, is usually step one,
    and Atari have said that they were working on Unreal support documentation, but launch support is their priority right
    now for sure, and I think they have quite a lot of developers working on products, so they have to support them also.

I had hoped to have more time spare for tinkering over the last weeks, myself, but one thing and another, no such luck.
Cheers, Richard.
 

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