Gameduino Brings Vintage Gaming Back

Davide GombaMarch 1st, 2011

If Kickstarter is nowadays best place to find new (or upcoming) toys to dream about, Gameduino is probably one of the most amazing pieces of hardware I’ve seen hosted there. The shield mounts its own FPGA able of 80ies style graphics and sounds for creating old-school, 8-bit video-games, pre-loaded with numerous sprites and set up for easy connection to a VGA display.

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 400×300 pixels in 512 colors
  • all color processed internally at 15-bit precision
  • compatible with any standard VGA monitor (800×600 @ 72Hz)
  • background graphics
    • 512×512 pixel character background
    • 256 characters, each with independent 4 color palette
    • pixel-smooth X-Y wraparound scroll
  • foreground graphics
    • each sprite is 16×16 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
  • 16 independent voices 10-4000 Hz
  • per-voice sine wave or white noise

Have a look at the nice reference poster, its detailed hardware reference or its set of sample programs and library.

support this project on [Kickstarter], via [CrunchGear] [BoingBoing] source [ExCamera]

2 Responses to “Gameduino Brings Vintage Gaming Back”

  1. MF Says:

    i dont mean to be a party-pooper but you could always create a game directly on a computer without any extra hardware.

  2. d.gomba@arduino.cc Says:

    Hi MF,
    I agree with you, but I think it’s an interesting shield for at least two reasons:
    1) it’s far less expensive than a computer
    2) you can develop new ways of interaction and control (rather than mouse & keyboard)

    thanks for commenting
    Davide

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